This weekend, we celebrate Palm Sunday and commemorate Our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We also recall, as we listen to His Passion read aloud, how in a matter of days the crowd crying “Hosanna to the Son of David,” turned and changed their exclamation to “Crucify Him!”
This has always been one of my favorite celebrations of the entire liturgical calendar. Indeed, from the moment Lent begins, I anticipate Holy Week with ever-growing excitement and enthusiasm. I do so not simply because I’m counting down the days until Lent will finally be over or because the Divine Liturgies of this coming week are more ornate and beautiful (although the latter does account for some of my expectation) Oh no, rather, the significance of Our Lord’s Redemptive Sacrifice on the Cross has always captivated me. As I hold a palm in my hand and gaze up at the crucifix while all the while repeating the part of the “crowd” in the Passion, I cannot help but realize just how much I resemble that fickle throng. One day I hail Jesus as my King and God as I receive Him into my soul in Holy Communion. A few days later, as I stand in line and examine my conscience before receiving the Sacrament of Penance, I contemplate with sorrow how I too have shouted “Crucify Him” and have nailed my Jesus to that Cross by my sins.
Ok, on that happy note, lets contemplate the glorious “Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion,” which we celebrate this weekend.
As I was thinking long and hard on what I should post, the inspiration came to me, why not write a small piece about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as seen through His mother’s eyes – hence the following reflection. I ask for forgiveness if it contains anything heretical. Please keep in mind that it comes not from a theologian but from the heart of a kiddo who loves the Blessed Mother and Jesus.
Consider how the Blessed Mother must have felt as Her Son set out for Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the last time in His earthly ministry. She knew that Jesus was taking His life into His hands and how great the danger was in which He was putting Himself. His enemies were numerous and formidable and yet fearful of His power. Even so, they were growing more bold by the day. Just a short time ago He had tried to reveal to “them” that He was a Divine Person – sent from His Father; sent from THE FATHER. Surely “they,” the Scribes and Pharisees and Scholars of the Law, surely “they” would understand and come to believe. But no, in the hardness of their hearts, they accused Jesus of blasphemy and tried to stone Him. They were powerless – it was not yet His Hour.
Mary was conscious of all these events, and she was aware as Jesus set out towards the City of David that His hour would soon be approaching. Yet she also knew that He was not her’s to keep exclusively. Recall that our Blessed Mother was brought up in the Temple in her youth and was fully cognizant of the prophesies of the Old Testament. As she gazed upon her humble Son riding upon the colt, did the prophesy of Zachariah flash before her eyes? “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass (Zachariah 9:9).” As she surveyed the multitude waving palms, acclaiming Him and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David,” did she realize that soon “the sword of sorrow would pierce her soul, that the thoughts of many may be revealed (Luke 2:35)?”
I believe that our Lady did fully understand what was happening. After all, her soul was never dulled by original sin or actual sin. Yet the important point is not whether or not she fully understood, but the fact that she believed and surrendered to God’s Will.
As we listen to and participate in the Passion of Our Lord at Mass this weekend and again on Good Friday, let us try to put ourselves in the Blessed Mother’s place. Let us endeavor to accompany her on the Way of the Cross. Let us strive to see Our Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem through her eyes and try to see Our Suffering Crucified Savior through her eyes. Let us strive to live the Passion as she lived it. Above all, let us ask Our Lord to give us a measure of His Mother’s firm Faith, unshakeable Hope and burning Love.
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”