April 13 & 14, 2019 - Palm Sunday

The Road Home

It is PALM SUNDAY. It is the beginning of HOLY WEEK. Our Lent has come to this moment. We who love Jesus Christ find ourselves at a kind of precipice. We are anticipating the incomparable joy of EASTER. Yet, as we face these few days, we know there is a path to follow to bring us to such joy.

            And the path is one of pain, suffering, and self-abandonment, and yet, moments of glory. When you read over the first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, words spoken by the Suffering Servant of God, try experiencing yourself as the one speaking. Can you recall those moments, times past, when you were dreading some event, feeling remorse or dread, feeling this alien weight in your chest? Here we are.

            Of course, it is Jesus who is this Suffering Servant. He is taking on this unspeakable burden for us. But when a loved one is suffering, we don’t merely look on, untouched. We can’t. We find ourselves drawn right in to all that the other is experiencing. Jesus suffers; we suffer. Jesus ascends this wretched cross. We, at a loss, humbly wait at the foot of the cross. Jesus dies!

            Now, it is we who die—to self. This is where—and how—our transformation takes place. Jesus’ death was not just a moment of anguish, and he’s gone. Jesus’ dying is something none of us will ever experience. As we live into the days and moments of Holy Week, it is absolutely necessary for each of us to feel ourselves surrounded by, encompassed by, the several events to which we are invited.

            On Holy Thursday, celebrate the Eucharist as if it were your First Communion, only this time with a more mature grasping of what Jesus Christ is doing with and in you. Then, let it be the Eucharistic Jesus who leads you, each of us, into the oh-so-dark scenes of Jesus’ suffering and death on Good Friday.

            The death of Jesus is not the end! His story continues with our remembering his Resurrection in the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday. The remaining challenge given to us during all of this is our eager walking the path of transformation.

 

Fr. Jim