Yes, that is the official title and it brings to us a solemn celebration of Jesus as our King as he enters Jerusalem only hours before his death on the Cross. With blessed palm branches in hand we process into our churches, Christians united to begin again the celebration of Holy Week. Think of how many Christians take part in this liturgical movement around the world in places and within cultures that we may never have the chance to experience. And yet, we move in solidarity with them, the world over; those who believe in and love Jesus Christ.
We have the privilege of being on this side of the Resurrection, so we know the outcome of that fateful journey of Jesus into Jerusalem. Let us for a moment imagine we are standing with others alongside the road as that man Jesus, who everyone is talking about enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Those who know and believe in him rejoice in his approach, on the other hand, those who believe he is a troublemaker, even a blasphemer, watch carefully with doubting eyes and discontent in their heart. Where are you? Which person in this story that unfolds in the coming days do you most identify with?
One of his Apostles – at the moment they are enjoying the procession into town and the admiration of the people for Jesus, but they have also heard Jesus speak of some things they did not understand, about how the Kingdom of God was at hand. Have I taken time to know of Jesus and what he did for love of me?
A Bystander – One who perhaps did not know much about this Jesus, one who watched and listened, not sure of what to believe. Am I one who stands by and watches rather than get involved in social issues of the day?
The Woman with the Oils – One who believed and came to anoint the body of Jesus in preparation for his burial.Would I take the risk being reprimanded by others or of being told to leave so that I might show compassion to
Judas Iscariot – One of Jesus’ own followers who would give up his whereabouts for an exchange of money. He would betray Jesus with a kiss. Have I ever chosen money or power over being one with God? Have I ever betrayed Jesus in my actions or my words? Peter, the Apostle – A dear friend and devoted follower of Jesus who would, when under pressure and filled with fear, deny even knowing Jesus. When in my life have I chosen to protect myself, rather than standing strong by the side of another? Would I have the strength to speak the truth about who Jesus is, even when threatened?
Peter, James and John – These are the Apostles who accompanied the distraught Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane where he went to pray to his Father to let this cup pass from him. These are those who fell asleep when Jesus asked; “Could you not keep watch for one hour? “When in my life have I let Jesus down? When have I not stayed with him?
The Chief Priests – Men who met to discuss just what should be done with this man Jesus who was causing such an uprising. These are the men who would hand Jesus over to Pontius Pilate who would send him to his death. When I have knowledge of injustice in the world, do I speak up and make a difference or do I allow myself to withdraw so as not to get involved?
Pontius Pilate – Here is the leader of a city, the one whose leadership affected a great number of people. Here is the person who, though he had nothing against Jesus, would, because of the pressure of others, put an innocent man to death. When I am in a leadership role, within a family or a community, do I stand on Christian principles or I am swayed by the need to be popular or avoid confrontation?
As we, with Jesus, approach the Triduum (the Three Days), let us reflect intentionally on how we live as Christians today. Please join with your fellow parishioners this week as we celebrate the beautiful traditions of our
faith in this very Holy Week.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC