Palm Sunday is here, the day we commemorate liturgically the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The stark juxtaposition of Palm Sunday with Good Friday is clear: the glorious excitement and welcome expressed for Jesus as He arrived versus the dark bleak abandonment and distance of Good Friday. The traditions of today's liturgy are familiar: processions, blessings of palm branches, resonating "Hosannas," and the narrated Gospel reading of Jesus' Passion. Whether marked with traditional hymns accompanied by organ or contemporary songs accompanied by guitar (or any combination the two), the message of today's liturgy calls us to enter into the experience of Holy Week.
But what is really that we, today in the year 2008, that we are called to enter? Certainly we are called spiritually to re-enter the experiences of that first Holy Week and reflect on the enormous love God has for us, the love God has for each one of us, and to experience in a deeper way our personal intimate relationship with Jesus. But I think there's something else that we are called to in a special way this week: to consider, recognize, and embrace the modern day Holy Week that takes place in the world around us.
What are the modern day triumphal entries of Jesus in our lives?
Where is it that we join the crowds is welcoming Jesus in our midst?
Where is it that we sit down at table with Jesus, that we break bread with Him, that we allow Him to feed us, where we share a meal of God-life with others?
Where is it today that Jesus suffers agony in the garden?
Where is it that people/the authorities come to imprison Jesus?
Where is it that we see Jesus betrayed or we ourselves betray Jesus?
Where is it that Jesus is abandoned in his hour of need?
Where is it that Jesus is sentenced to death?
Where is it that Jesus is forced to carry a cross -- and carry it alone?
Where is it that the Veronicas of the world step forward to ease the pain of Jesus?
Where is it that the Simons of the world are obliged to help Jesus?
Where is it that Jesus dies on a cross?
Where is it that the faithful of the faithful -- the Marys, the Johns -- continue to stand with/for Jesus?
Where is it that there is no place for Jesus to be laid to rest after death?
Where is it that the Mother of God weeps for her son who has died, where the Mother of God holds her Son in her arms?
Where is it that the Josephs of Arimithea come forward to provide for Jesus and his Mother in need?
Where is it that Jesus rises among us?
Powerful, pausing, lifetime questions. Yet more remain:
In the story of Jesus' triumph, passion, death, and resurrection, who am I?
Where do I fit in the living gospel of Holy Week today?
As you seek answers to the questions of your own Holy Week path,
may your journey be blessed and grace-filled!