Thursday, March 22, 2018

Gearing Up For Palm Sunday

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from the one and only Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!"

This weekend is Palm Sunday.  We begin the Mass in joyful cries, acknowledging the Kingdom of the Lord.  We wave palms and we celebrate, just like they did on the very first Palm Sunday all those years ago.

And yet we know how the story will progress.  We know that just a short time later in the Mass, we will be chanting a different tune.

"Crucify him!"
"Why? What evil has he done?"
"Crucify him!"

I remember my first Palm Sunday as a Catholic - actually not yet a Catholic.  My first Palm Sunday in the Catholic Church was the Sunday before the Holy Week that I entered the Church.  I don’t think I actually said the words during this part of the reading on that Sunday, but listened in disbelief as the words of the Gospel were brought to life by the people around me.  The fear, anxiety, and injustice of the trial of Jesus were transported right into the beautiful church where I felt so at home, in a way I had never experienced before. And it was so unnerving.  

I still struggle to say those words every Palm Sunday.  Many people do it seems. But, as a wise and spiritual person once taught me, we say those words all the time.  Every time we choose to sin, every time we turn our backs on the teachings of our faith and the God that imparted them, every time we ignore the works of mercy we are silently yelling those same words.

"Crucify him!"

Sin is a silent killer.  It often doesn’t register to us that when we choose sin we are indeed yelling, or at least whispering, those same words.  Sin isn’t usually a public declaration. Sin is often committed in silence, in seclusion, in secret. But Jesus knows. He’s always known and He died for our sins - all of them.  The ones we’ve already committed, the ones we will commit. He showers us with mercy and grace and forgiveness, made possible by His death on the cross. The death He died for us.  The death He died out of love.

"Crucify him!"

They called for His death.  They chose to release the convicted murderer and condemn the innocent, humble, miracle working carpenter from Nazareth.  It’s easy to look at this reading and condemn those who were physically shouting those words. But as we enter into this Holy Week, let’s pause more often throughout our day and consider how often we ourselves silently call out those same words through our choices.  How often do we turn our backs on the kindness, humility, and merciful forgiveness of our Lord, and instead choose darkness? Let’s choose light friends. If you haven’t yet received the Sacrament of Penance during Lent, I encourage you to do so. Let Christ, through the ministry of His Church and His priests, guide you into choosing light and cover you in mercy and grace.  I pray you have a fruitful holy week, and a joyous Easter, filled with the light and love of the Risen Christ.

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