Saturday, March 31, 2012

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

SundayTriumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Mk. 11:1-11,  Mt. 21:1-11, 14-17,
                                                                         Lk. 19:29-44, Jn. 12:12-19

Jesus enters Jerusalem to cheers and loud “hosannas.”  Many of the fickle crowd will later cry “crucify him!”  Are you the type of person who only loves Jesus when things are going well?  There are people who want God only on their own terms.  As long as the Lord lives up to expectations, prayers are answered, health is good, family is stable, finances OK, life is good, they can praise Him.  But when things go bad they want to blame God or wonder if He even exists.  These “fair weather” Christians go into spiritual hibernation in times of difficulty.

Holy Week is a week of contrasts: of great highs and lows, and so is life.  Our experience is filled with Palm Sundays, Maundy Thursdays, Good Fridays, and Easter Sundays.   We must understand that God is at work in all of these times.  What is the worst possible tragedy that you can think of?  Is it the death of God?  Well, that happened on Good Friday.  And it was all according to God’s plan!  Plus, resurrection was right around the corner!  We just cannot understand all of God’s ways.  What seems bad to us may turn out to be an ultimate blessing.

The bottom line is that the Lord wants us to love Him, trust Him, and serve Him all the time.   We cannot know God or His ways completely.  However, He has revealed to us that He loves us.  Holy Week is a demonstration of that love.  Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for our sins and rose again on the third day and all who place their faith in Him have everlasting life.  But make no mistake about it;  He wants all of us at all times. 
In cathedrals the part where the congregation sits is called the “nave.”  That word is also the root word for “navy.”  The symbolism here is that the church is a ship of refuge as we go through the waters of life.  Sometimes the sea will be calm and other times it will be stormy with all sorts of conditions in between.  Sometimes we will be under attack and at other times we will hear a band playing and people cheering at a port.   At all times, however, we will be in the ship feeling safe from any real threat and enjoying the ride.  Like Noah, we may be in a storm, but we also will be in an ark.  That Ark is Jesus and He will bring us safely home. 

Let us examine our faith and see if it has the depth needed to withstand the disappointments and difficulties of life.  Can we praise Him in good times and in bad?  Let us lay down, not only our cloaks and palm branches but also our very selves as we worship Him and serve Him.

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