Palm Sunday, 2018
We meet every sort of reaction to Christ on Palm Sunday: jubilation, faith, hatred, concern, grief, fear, hostility, cruelty, indifference. There is a response for everyone. In some ways, Jesus is still walking on the road to Calvary today, on the way to his death and resurrection. This time, however, you are invited to be a part of the story.
Simon of Cyrene. Perhaps you are called to be like Simon of Cyrene. He was unexpectedly called upon to carry Christ’s cross for him. Perhaps, like Simon, you have been given a cross to carry against your will, one that you resisted, one you were not expecting. Yet Christ is at your side and, as his friend, you are called to bear this cross with dignity, without complaint, by his side.
The women who wept as Jesus passed by. Or you may be one of the women of Jerusalem. They wept as Christ passed by. They shared his grief. Perhaps you too are sharing in the grief of someone near to you. You cannot take their pain away, and yet you are called to share some of it with them. Maybe you grieve over those who are on the wrong path within our society, within our families, within our nation. Your grief is a prayer for their conversion.
The indifferent. Sometimes we find ourselves indifferent to Christ. As Jesus struggled with his cross down the narrow streets of Jerusalem, many looked the other way. Others couldn’t have cared less. Have I been indifferent to the suffering of others, the poverty of those in my life, the pain they feel? Have I taken time to tell the Lord how much I appreciate his sacrifice for me, or am I one of those who were indifferent? Many don’t care about Christ today; yet even now, his friends are there.
Those who mocked and condemned him. Have I ever blamed God for something that he was not responsible for? Do I have unrepentant sin? Sometimes we may find ourselves with those who hated Jesus without cause; yet at those times, Jesus prays for us: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.
Those who stayed faithfully by the cross. Jesus’ mother, a few friends, and one disciple were all that Jesus had in the world. When I remain faithful to Jesus, despite everything, I am one of those who stayed by the cross until the end.
The good thief. The two thieves crucified with Jesus represent all of us, and the choices we must make. Will I choose to trust Jesus to forgive me, and thus be saved? Every time I have experienced the mercy of God, I have the role of the good thief who was assured a place in paradise.