Part Two of an eight-part series of reflections on Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.
Imagine with me that Pope Francis has been captured by ISIS, placed on trial, convicted, and publicly executed. The response of the world would be one of shock, horror, and outrage. Even thinking about it can make us uncomfortable.
When we hear a similar story on Palm Sunday every year, do we feel the same? Have you ever truly understood that the events portrayed in Palm Sunday are real? Have you ever experienced them as though you were there yourself?
On Palm Sunday, the Gospel reading tells the entire story of Holy Week: the Last Supper, the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, the trial, the crucifixion, and the burial of Jesus.
Sit at the Last Supper as Jesus proclaims “This is my body.” Wonder at what it could possibly mean. Let Jesus lead you into a fuller understanding of the Eucharist.
Hear Jesus prophesy that his disciples will abandon Him, and then hear Him forgive them before it has even been done. Let Jesus lead you to reconciliation and peace.
Walk to the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prays for this cup to be taken away. Let Jesus lead you to pray deeply, “Not what I will but what you will.”
Enter the courtyard as Pilate brings out this Messiah who has been savagely beaten, and see if you would have the courage to call out His name to be freed rather than Barabbas. Let Jesus lead you to live in courage and faith.
Kneel at the foot of the cross with Mary Magdelene and the others, powerless to stop the crucifixion, but there until the end. Let Jesus lead you to a love that even death cannot conquer.
This year let us try to hear this story anew. Let us experience each moment deeply and personally. Listen, and allow Jesus to enter your life in a new and powerful way.