Palm Sunday is a study in contrasts. That, of course, can be said for all of Holy Week, which begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey, as had the Great King Solomon before him. (Luke 19:36-38). Our journey with Jesus begins as we share in that wonderful procession when we assemble outside the church to hear the gospel story. After our palms are blessed, we move into the church as the crowd did in following Him into Jerusalem.
Then we are given a hint of things to come when the 22nd Psalm is read and we respond with the words of Jesus from the cross: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” First, though, we are reminded of how Jesus “emptied Himself” and took on our humanity to show us how to respond totally to the Father’s love. (Phil 2:6-11)
Finally we share the story of Jesus’ Passion and crucifixion (Luke 14 — 23-26) and our shouts change from “Hosannah!” to “Crucify Him.” His Apostles and His followers, except for a few women, abandon Him. Only they, among His disciples, are there to hear Jesus surrender Himself with the words, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.”
And so the spiritual roller-coaster of Holy Week begins and we continue our journey of remembrance to remind us of what Jesus went through to teach us the meaning of unconditional love.
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