On Palm Sunday, a week before the resurrection, and only a few days before the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross, we meditate on what happened in Jerusalem. We wonder what all that might mean for us today?
Two thousand years ago, a very big number in Jerusalem gathered to welcome Jesus into the city. They placed palm branches, and even their own coats on the ground so that Jesus’ donkey would walk on them.
They, just as we do today, came to praise Jesus. But we need to look closer. Perhaps they were there for other reasons as well? There were. Only a few days before, Jesus had brought Lazarus, who had been dead for four days and was in the grave, back to life. Obviously, they wanted to meet the Man who could do this. He might do something for them.
- I believe. Help my unbelief – Mark 9:17-31
- God does not have grandchildren – John 1: 43-51
- Where can I get some help? – Mark 2: 1-12
A key to understanding another reason is found in the words they used. They shouted, “Hosanna”. Translated it means, “Help! Save us now”. They were interested in themselves. At that time, there also was in Jerusalem agitation to get rid of the occupying Roman army. Do not forget that only a few days later, many of these same people were shouting to Pontius Pilate, “Give us Barabbas” (who was a murderer), and, “Crucify Jesus”. These are the same people of Palm Sunday. How could they change so quickly?
We need to ask ourselves. Are we also capable of the same kind of behaviour? How solid is our following of Jesus? How strong is our Faith? How do we pray? Do we want help now, or are we not interested?
Unfortunately, little has changed in today’s world. Many still are not sure why they are Christians. They look at Jesus through the eyes of the world, not at the way that Jesus presents Himself.
Easter is a good time to find the real truth about Jesus, to study the Catechism, to read the Bible, to talk to someone, and to start praying.
He is the suffering servant. He is the Lamb which is sacrificed. He dies on the Cross. He rules from the Cross, from the empty grave. He does not kill Roman soldiers. He destroys death. He is humble. He gives us power over the devil.
During Lent and Holy Week is a good time to recognize the real Jesus, and to overcome the temptations we will have. “Hosanna”, on Palm Sunday, was used as a political phrase to drive out the Roman army. The people who shouted that wish did not commit to Jesus. When we pray, let us pray that we commit ourselves to Jesus and be saved from evil and sin. We need a victory over everything which keeps us from salvation in Jesus.
Today is a good time to ask ourselves a few questions. What do we think of Jesus? What do we want Him to do for us? Is Jesus fulfilling our expectations of Him?
We should not walk away from Jesus because we do not know what we want from Him and the Church. Easter is a good time to find the real truth about Jesus, to study the Catechism, to read the Bible, to talk to someone, and to start praying.
Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM
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