Sunday March 25th is Palm Sunday, the Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem for His Passion and Death. Mass Readings: At the Procession of the Palms: Mark: 11:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Philippians 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1- 15:47.
The Sacred Liturgy for Palm Sunday begins with a Gospel account of the Lord Jesus making His entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem, mounted on a donkey.
As He made his procession into the sacred city, the loud exclamations abounded — “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux makes an interesting comparison between the greetings that the Son of God received coming into Jerusalem and and about 5 days later on Good Friday.
Here are St. Bernard’s words— “How different the cries are that now are calling him ‘King of Israel’ and then in a few days time will be saying, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ What a contrast between the green branches and the cross, between the flowers and the thorns! Before they were offering their own clothes for him to walk upon, and so soon afterwards they are stripping him of his, and casting lots upon them.”(St. Bernard, Sermon on Palm Sunday)
Surely, some of the same people who shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” were among the same people who mocked him while he was on trial with Pontus Pilate. How can someone possibly go from shouting that greeting of honor to shouting, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!”?
It shows us the reality of how we can all turn our backs on the Lord Jesus. We can all deny and turn away from the Lord of Glory.
If you don’t think this is possible with you… think about how many times you have committed a grave sin. That is breaking one of the Ten Commandments or one of the Seven Capital Sins or not abiding by the Precepts of the Church. Do you even know what they are? Look them up if you don’t!
I recently heard a priest say that keeping the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Church (basically, the bare minimum as a Christian) is about a D- on the report card! Ouch!
Remember the Gospel of the rich young man asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asked him if he kept the Commandments and he answered in the affirmative, but he was still lacking something.
He had not made a definitive commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. And because of that, the rich young man went away sad. He could have been the greatest disciple ever—even more influential than St. Paul—if only he had not turned his back on Jesus.
The Lord Jesus came that we might have life. He was born to die. We are born to live. There was a moment in time where we did not exist. Not so with God the Son. Even before he assumed a human nature, He existed from all Eternity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
The Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus opens up the door for each of us to enter into a life-giving relationship with the Holy Trinity.
Holy Week is the holiest week of the entire liturgical year in the Church. How have we prepared for this week? How has our Lenten preparation been?
May I suggest one practical and at the same time could be a life-changing event? If you have been away from the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) for some time, please for the Love of God, go and experience the liberation effect of the Lord’s Mercy. Make a good examination of conscience, confess all your mortal (grave) sins by name and around the number of times committed, if you know, and make an honest and sincere firm purpose of amendment to avoid the near occasion of sin in the future.
Do not be afraid of opening up those deep, dark places in your life. Perhaps, there is a sin you have never confessed before, because of shame and guilt. Bring that to the Sacrament of Penance and explain that you need to confess a sin you might not have ever confessed. Be freed from that burden.
The Lord died in order for that burden to be lifted from you. He is waiting in the Sacrament of His Mercy to wipe away perhaps the crusted filth of decades.
If only we would give Him a chance.