Deacon Jerry’s Lenten Reflection: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Posted on March 19, 2024 by Published by

The name of this Sunday is Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord. The name shows both the joy at Jesus coming into Jerusalem and into our hearts and also how he is rejected by the crowd and when we sin. This Sunday is both about the adulation and the hosannas, and the Passion of Jesus.

The first Gospel is proclaimed at the beginning of Mass from the entrance to the Church. The Gospel tells how the public greeted Jesus as he rode into the city. “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest!” Then at the altar and at the normal time of the Mass, the Gospel of the Passion is read. It is the longest Gospel of the year with multiple voices: Christ, the narrator, and the crowd.

This week is full of contrasts. Jesus knew the cheers would turn to jeers. Peter’s boasting at the Last Supper and the disciples running away in panic are evidence of their surprise, or perhaps more accurately, their shock. At the procession, the welcome was consistent with the expectation that Jesus was the new king. The disciples, like many of us, did not understand the difference between the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of God. Palm branches camouflaged the real issue — hardened and confused hearts.

When Jesus was providing miracles, bread and entertainment value, everyone was excited and would follow Him. But Jesus knew what would follow. He told the disciples and told us that he would be arrested and killed. Immediately before the Transfiguration when Christ predicted his death, in Matthew, Peter tries to talk Christ out of going to Jerusalem. In Luke, after the second prediction of his death, the disciples were confused.

Jesus was never confused. He knew what was in front of him and, as he paraded into Jerusalem, he knew some of the same people who were cheering would probably be calling for his death. That is what is so remarkable about Our Savior. He is a constant loving and merciful God who knows our weakness and responds with love. Let us spend this Holy Week in humble gratitude. When we are part of the crowd and call for his crucifixion during the Passion narrative, let us cringe at our sinfulness and cry for his mercy.

Deacon Jerry

Readings for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion: Lectionary 37 & 38

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