Palm Sunday Reflection

Sunday 25th March 2018

For the last of our Sunday Lenten Reflections we return to Rome to hear from Fr Mark Paver on today’s Gospel Reading:

In the Gospel we hear at the beginning of today’s Mass, we encounter a “street party” in full swing. All the signs point to Jesus’s status as the Messiah, not least the cries of he crowd, “Hosanna! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming!”. In less than a week those cries can no longer be heard,  they are replaced by the call for Barabbas to be freed and the mocking of the soldiers taunting the “King” dressed in purple with his crown of thorns. Jesus’ friends and disciples who were with him as he entered Jerusalem, have scattered, just a few women remain, watching from a distance as He breathes his last.

It would be nice if life was one long street party wouldn’t it? It would be nice if we never had to enter into Holy Week, never had to face Good Friday. Unfortunately Christianity is not that sort of religion. It doesn’t placate us with false promises or virtual realities. Our faith is firmly grounded in the gritty, human, at times painful, world in which we live. That is a truth that makes me want to run right back to the street party. “Just pass me my palm, let me wave it for a bit longer, and get me another cocktail while you’re at the bar!”

But right into that gritty, human, at times painful, reality came the Son of God, and if the Son of God suffers and dies for me, it means there is no suffering or pain that I can experience that He has not shared with me. It means He is united with me in every kind of trial that I face, every betrayal that I am the victim of, every failure, every disappointment, every loss, every abuse I endure. He is there with me and He invites me to let Him embrace all of my pain and suffering so that He can offer it with his own to the Father. This Holy Week, let us accept His invitation. By His wounds, we are Healed (Isaiah 53:5).

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