Luke 19: 28-40
Isaiah 50: 4-7
Philippians 2: 6-11
Luke 22: 14--23:56
Who likes parades? There are many different types of parades; some are with marching bands, soldiers, sailors, colorful floats. Some are neighborhood parades, with Boy and Girl Scout troops, the little leagues, and the occasional school band. And then there are parades that are spontaneous, with crowds of people, just marching together.
This Sunday is Passion Sunday, but it is also known as Palm Sunday, because we remember the day that Jesus triumphantly entered the city of Jerusalem. It started out with just him getting onto a little colt and riding it into the city, with his disciples following him. However, when people saw him coming, they remembered the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, how the Son of King David was to enter the city. Crowds began to follow Jesus, waving palm branches; they were laying their cloaks on the road before him. And they were all crying out, “hosanna, hosanna,” which is a word of praise for a savior. So we see Jesus entering Jerusalem, proclaimed as a savior. Yet, in today’s Gospel, we see how quickly the mood of the people of Jerusalem changes, from the people shouting “Hosanna, Hosanna,” to “crucify him, crucify him.”
This week that we are entering, that the Church has traditionally called Holy Week, because of the events in Jesus’ life we are going to remember. Events that occurred in a back water occupied country, thousands of years ago, to an itinerant Jewish preacher, and his followers. These events did not warrant being recorded in the histories of the Roman Empire. Yet, I will tell you here and now, that what we remember happening during that week in Jerusalem so many years ago, is the most important event that has ever happened for humankind, indeed for the whole universe. The journey that began on Palm Sunday will become a journey of sorrow, of tears, but it will ultimately lead to a new dawn for all of creation. The power of sin and death will be broken, and a new day of hope will be born.
Now either because we may be too young to realize this, or we have gone through this season so many times it has become routine, but we all need to realize what Jesus achieved, what he had to sacrifice to achieve it, and how much he loved all of us, those of the past, we here in the present, and the generations to come; that he was willing to make the sacrifice. St. Paul realized this, those words he wrote to the Philippians, can be so stirring if we read them slowly and open our hearts to their power.
I would encourage all of us during these coming days, to read over those words of St. Paul, reflect on them, and let them sink into our hearts and souls. When we do, we may be able to see these coming days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and dawn of Easter Sunday, with new eyes and open hearts; that what we will experience will cause all of us to cry out anew, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest,”