March 29, 2015: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The Master has need of it and will send it back here at once’.” So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those who went before and those who followed cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:1-10)
Have you ever marched in a parade? Or watched one by the side of the road? Parades often celebrate a special occasion, like July 4. Or they honor a particular person or group, like the winners of the Super Bowl or our country’s new president. Today our liturgy begins with a parade celebrating Jesus. We call it a procession, but it is like a parade: people cheering or singing, waving palm branches (like a pom-pom or a flag) and celebrating Jesus, who has been preaching and healing them. It might seem strange for Jesus to be in a parade at the beginning of the week when he will die on the cross and the crowds that supported him will disappear.
I celebrate Jesus as the humble man who rides on a donkey, not a fancy horse. He is the Master who heals, serves, and follows God’s will even to his death. This week, I will follow the way of the Cross, from today’s procession all the way to Easter. Jesus, teach me your ways.