Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion … this year there is greater starkness than ever before … but perhaps the healthcare crisis is challenging us to realize the daily reality of the crucifixions, betrayals, tortures, dismissals of the Jesus in disguise, in our neighbor, stranger, enemy … around the world.
An event, seemingly so singular and insignificant about a rabbi from Galilee, unfolding in Jerusalem of Judea, being condemned to death on a cross under the Roman governor Pontius Pilate … spread in a few life times to the whole world; and it was never the same again. Like this pandemic, from the hinterland of China, to the rest of Asia, to Europe, the Middle East, to the Americas, Africa, Oceania … in a matter of months, to the whole world- will we ever be the same?
Perhaps, the hosannas that we re-echo this Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion are more appropriate than we realize. The word means: God come to save us; in the face of COVID-19, isn’t that truly our cry before the Lord this year?
Again, in the face of this Holy Week / COVID-19 shrouded, we are confronted by the stark truth of the cross, as it is carried by so many, like Jesus carried his cross. And we come to realize that there is no negotiating with the cross … we either embrace it or reject it! If we embrace it, it demands from us, as it did of Jesus, humility, obedience, self-abasement. Humility, though he was God, he emptied himself and became a slave, becoming one of us; obedience, to the Father’s will, even to the point of dying, dying on the cross; self-abasement, he played the fool that had the last laugh- for the tomb was empty!
He came and spoke to us of your love … and we cursed Him.
He came and ate with sinners … and we looked away from Him in disgust.
He came and healed … and we tortured Him.
He came and saved us willingly … and we nailed Him to a tree.
Dear Lord, healer of minds and hearts, give us the wisdom to know what we are called to be … and to share this openly and lovingly with all we encounter; so your Great Commandment of Love may be lived and expressed to each soul who is in need of your grace, through Christ, your Son, Our Lord. Amen.