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Engaging the Word: 03/29/2015

On Palm Sunday we begin Mass recalling Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem.  When Jesus showed up the crowds turned out to see him, waving branches and crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  In this week before the celebration of Easter, this Holy Week, perhaps it would be good to ponder the welcome that Jesus received on entering Jerusalem.  Why did people turn out?  Why were they so happy?  Who did they think Jesus was?  Why did they think Jesus was so special?

It is worth noting how Jesus responded to the welcome that he received.  From the record we have, it does not seem that all the adulation went to his head; it seems that he just kept going, kept being true to himself and the Father’s mission for him.  I imagine the welcome made him feel happy, but it did not change his commitment to the truth.

As his time in Jerusalem progressed, the enthusiasm of the crowds would subside and their attraction to Jesus would diminish.  Some of those closest to him would in fact turn on him.  What is remarkable, what saves us, what tells us that we need not waste our lives and that our graced human effort is enough, is that Jesus in setting aside accessing his divine nature and relying only on his human nature perseveres.  Jesus is troubled in the garden, but just as he was true to himself and the Father’s mission to him in good times, he was true in the difficult times.  This truth sets us free; it conquers death.  We are saved from wasting our lives if we follow this man’s example and way.  Only in being true to ourselves and the Father’s mission for us do we truly live.  If we allow our self to be governed by pleasure and the fear of death, our true selves never come to life.

There is much to pray with this Sunday and throughout Holy Week.  As we conclude our Lenten observance, may we take some extra time these days to consider the mysteries that have been set before us.


1st Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-7 ~  Responsorial: Psalms 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24

2nd Reading: Philippians 2: 6-11 ~  Gospel: Mark 14: 1-15


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