Palm Sunday marks the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem and our entry into Holy Week – the days leading up to the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
We are the followers of Jesus and this is why these days are significant for us. Where he has gone, we are to follow.
Today’s entry to Holy Week is precisely the entry we have difficulty with.
So often I stand at the gate of Jerusalem appreciating the power of the resurrection and my own need to experience this life-saving event. However faced with being misunderstood and ridiculed, abandoned by friends, tortured and executed. Before the reality of Holy Week, more often than not, I run a mile.
We know we are not called to literally enter far away Jerusalem on a donkey, eat a Last Supper in an upper room, pray in an olive garden called Gethsemane and carry a wooden cross. We know that we probably won’t be stripped, mocked, scourged and crowned with thorns before being hung to die on the hill called Calvary.
That was the unique path of Jesus.
My path is unique, crafted for me by divine design to help me to greater maturity and abundant life.
While every Palm Sunday we imagine these long ago and far away scenes, Jesus is asking us to follow him in 2022.
How do we do this?
It’s not by imitating Jesus’ suffering as actors do in a passion play.
We live most intimately with Jesus today not when we imagine where he was and what he went through, but when we enter the reality of our own lives, living passionately and intentionally the circumstances that we find ourselves in this day, this hour, in families and workplaces, among friends and with enemies.
Many of our prayers are asking God to magically change or remove our circumstances. I’m not sure how God does this when one family prays for fine weather for the wedding and the gardeners in the same town beg for rain?
Perhaps the most mature prayer is that Thy will be done…
…and that thy will be done in and through me in the circumstances that are mine today whatever those circumstances are since while our circumstances may be a problem for us, no situation is too much of a challenge for Jesus.
So let’s enter our reality, our circumstances whatever they are, knowing that we are accompanied by Jesus as he was with his father,
You might appreciate this quotation from Luigi Giussani: “The Religious Sense”. p.108
“What is the formula for the journey to the ultimate meaning of reality? Living the real. There is an experience, hidden yet implied, of that arcane, mysterious presence to be found within the opening of the eye, within the attraction reawakened by things, within the beauty of things, within an amazement, full of gratitude, comfort, and hope. And this is so because these things move themselves in such a way that they serve me, are useful to me.
“Numbered among these things is myself as well–myself, in whom that presence which is concealed, hidden, becomes close, because it is here, forming me but also informing me of good and evil.
“Now the question is this: How can this complex, yet simple, this enormously rich experience of the human heart–which is the heart of the human person and, therefore, of nature, the cosmos–how can it become vivid, how can it come alive? How can it become powerful?
“In the “impact” with the real. The only condition for being truly and faithfully religious, the formula for the journey to the meaning of reality is to live always the real intensely, without preclusion, without negating or forgetting anything. Indeed, it would not be human, that is to say, reasonable, to take our experience at face value, to limit it to just the crest of the wave, without going down to the core of its motion.