Palm Sunday – Passion Sunday

Yup, that’s right. Tomorrow is such a big day that it has two names.

Expect an emotional roller coaster.

Woah man, do I mean it too. We start with the triumph of Christ entering Jerusalem in glory, we end with death and mayhem. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is so odd to me. He enters both as a king and as a pauper. On one side, He is being hailed by all around him. People are crying out Hosanna and draping palms before Him that the very feet of his steed may not touch the ground. Christ has just performed three powerful signs proving His kingship, most notably the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and folks are just plain excited. The new King has arrived, and they can just see everything about to finally start going right.

At the same time though, He is riding a donkey. A smelly, filthy little donkey. He is not being born by a litter of buff men, nor is he riding in on a powerful warhorse. Heck, he’s not even riding in on a camel. Let’s be honest here, it we be more comely if he would just get off and walk, but no. He rides in on the very image of poverty.

This is just wild. Can you imagine this happening today? What if the president rode into town in a beat up Buick from the eighties, coated in rust with the rims stolen, the headliner draped around his head and the tailpipe blowing smoke. Seriously, this would just be scandal.

What an amazing scene, and what a glorious way to start Mass.

It certainly doesn’t last long.

Without ado, we are led straight into the lion’s den. Christ is being dragged through the court system with such speed it would make any judge blush. His head is on the chopping block, and folks aren’t wasting time with deliberation. The Cross is calling, and Christ is walking up the hill.

I want to pause. So often we think the priest has the good part. He wears fancy robes, and gets to bless everyone. He gets to read the Gospel, and splash everyone with holy water. Well, that certainly isn’t the case today. Today we read the good parts.

“Crucify Him!”

You may not think this is the good part. You might even feel ashamed as you read it. As you accuse Peter along with servant girl, you may wish you were reading about lilies in the field. I want you to understand, that is exactly what makes it the good part. We get to remember that it was us that hung Christ out to dry. It was you and I, every time we sin that caused this to be necessary. We have the part that is truly designed to change us, to bring us back to center. What a blessing.

Christ is hanging. We just stand and watch. We leave with a deep sense of quiet, a silence ever so much more deep because of our triumphant entrance.

The man we worshiped as king is dead, and the donkey is put out to pasture.

Our palms have becomes crosses, and we are truly alone.

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