Palm Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

When we think about Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and the days that followed, the events are familiar.  In another Gospel, we hear the cheering crowds shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”  We remember the opposition Christ confronted in Jerusalem, the “chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.  We know that Judas betrays the Lord into the hands of his enemies and that he will be crucified and placed in a tomb.  Growing up I could never understand the emphasis the church gives to the Passion of the Lord.  It seemed filled with gory details and was the result of the work of human hands.  The Passion seemed like a tragedy, which we should just jump over, and get to the Resurrection as soon as possible.  More and more, however, I understand in my own heart the absolute importance of the Passion.  It is not meant to convey the brutality we can commit, nor guilt for his death.  On the contrary, it is to proclaim love.

The key to understand what I think is the most helpful Christian attitude in Holy Week is given in this Sunday’s Gospel.  We read at the beginning, “While Jesus was a Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.”  What do we see in her action?  We see a gratitude that must have come from an earlier experience with Christ.  Had she heard him speak of the “Prodigal Son”?  Had she heard stories of how Lazarus was brought back to life and realized that the Lord was the source of life for her as well?  Had she been healed from some illness?  Had she been forgiven from sins, which she had thought would keep her trapped forever?  We don’t know the particulars but we do know that she was overcome by gratitude and, no matter what others had to say, she wanted to express it to Christ himself.  What we see in the woman’s action is the key to our lives of faith.  On the one hand we witness God’s love and mercy.  Not only do we witness his love, so too do we try to free our hearts to receive it.  There are so many things in the privacy of our hearts, which make it hard to receive the free gift of God’s love in Christ.  We say we believe it but we find it easier to believe it is for others.  And yet Jesus agonizes in the Garden; he is flogged and crowned with thorns; he carries his Cross through the streets of Jerusalem; and he is crucified.  The woman who poured the nard on his head witnessed his love, she received the gift of his love in her heart and she let God’s love overcome her doubt and insecurity.  She let God’s love in Christ touch her heart and change her heart.

The events of Holy Week do not rehearse a gory tragedy.  They are, in fact, an eternal moment of perfect beauty.  Jesus Christ walks through Jerusalem with a Cross on his shoulders saying only one thing – “I love you no matter what.”  As we see him and receive the gift of God’s love, let us let our hearts be touched and changed by God’s proclamation.  If God says to each of us, “I love you no matter what” so too, even with hearts that may be a little unsure, do we gently utter, “I love you too.”  “A woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.”

God Bless and Take Care

AttachmentSize
Weekly Parish Bulletin315.57 KB

Upcoming Events