Pastoral Message – April 10, 2022
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus riding into Jerusalem to the cheers and adulation of onlookers. They are shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Until this moment, Jesus has resisted attempts to honor Him. Instead, He has worked tirelessly as a servant of all of the people of the region: teaching the curious, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving the sinners, and comforting the neglected. He opened His heart to every person whom He encountered; even those who were skeptical of or opposed to Him.
As the people honor Jesus, the skeptics tell Him to silence the people. His response is not about Himself or His glory. Instead, Jesus tells the Pharisees that if the people were silenced, the “stones would cry out.” In other words, the people need to have this very brief moment to courageously show Him their love and appreciation for Him and His message. These people had every reason to praise and support Jesus for the message that He taught and the works that he performed. However, in a just a few days, the authorities will convince them to reject Jesus. Their fleeting courage will be replaced by fear. Their glimpse of hope will be replaced by dark despair. Their shouts of “Blessed is the King!” will be replaced by shouts of “Crucify Him!”
At every Mass we praise and glorify Jesus in the hymns that we sing and the prayers that we recite. We are both grateful and joyful as we honor our king! Through the Mass, He teaches and feeds us. He heals our souls and forgives our sins. He comforts us with the great promise of the heavenly kingdom which rescues us from death and gives us everlasting life. Like the onlookers in Jerusalem, we welcome Jesus with enthusiasm. During each Mass, we show our love for Jesus by shouting or singing, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The question for each of us as we begin Holy Week is, “How deep is our love of Christ?” Can it persevere even when our prayers are not answered, when we experience suffering, or when we encounter death? Can it withstand the mockery of the skeptics who deny the very object of our love? In short, can it survive the many challenges that we face the moment that we leave the church after each Mass? When things do not go according to plans, hopes or dreams others around us may choose to sever their relationships with God and shout “Crucify Him!” But if our love for Jesus truly runs deep we will always invite His light to overcome any darkness that threatens us. In fact, our love will deepen and strengthen through those challenges. Through it all, we will never stop shouting, “Blessed is the King!”
Have a Blessed Palm Sunday!