Palm Sunday Year A

     Today’s Gospel recalls that Jesus walked into the city of Jerusalem as people waved palms at Him and praised Him as a king. 5 days later many of those same people turned around and demanded that He be crucified as a criminal. While this story took place over 2,000 years ago halfway around the world, as people of faith we know that we are actually a part of the crowd. Whether we want to admit it or not, through the way we live our lives, we join those people in shouting. Do our lives shout Hosanna to the King or do they shout crucify Him?

     While all of us want to consider ourselves to be a part of the crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, if we are honest with ourselves, I think we all have to admit that at times we are actually part of the crowd that screams crucify Him. Jesus is clear “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”[1] and Jesus also tells us “do to others whatever you would have them do to you,”[2] so anytime our actions fall short of what we would expect to receive, we shout for Christ to be crucified.”

     There is no way around it, Jesus came into this world to suffer and die for us. Jesus suffered horribly because of our actions. But isn’t that why Jesus carried the cross? Did He not freely undergo His horrific suffering so that you and I could be free from our sin? Friends, it’s not a question of whether we will participate in driving those nails into Jesus’ hands, but rather how we will respond to our participation in His death. Will we be like Judas, unwilling to accept God’s forgiveness? Will we be like Pilate, wanting to deny any responsibility? Will we be like some of the Jewish leaders and accept responsibility only to look for punishment or will we be like the Good Thief and accept responsibility while at the same time accept God’s forgiveness which His open arms extend to us from the cross? After all, “the cross of Christ is not a theory, but a dreadful ordeal and a sign of love,”[3] which must be accepted.

     As we enter the holiest week of the year Jesus gives us two options. We can either enter into Christ’s passion and death or turn our backs on Him and simply not be bothered. What is your choice? If you want to join Him then don’t let this week be like another week. Take up the invitation to join us at 7:30 on Thursday for the Mass of the Lord’s supper, where we will relive the Last Supper, Jesus’ agony in the garden and His betrayal, spend some time in prayer that night with Jesus as He is tortured the High Priest’s house and then come back and join us on Friday at 3:00 pm as we celebrate the brutal death of Christ and reverence His saving instrument of the cross.

[1] Mt 25:40

[2] Mt 7:12

[3] Robert Cardinal Sarah, God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas Dias San Francisco: Ignatius (2015) Pg. 95.

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