Sunday, April 1, 2012

Passion Sunday
I remember feeling confused about Palm Sunday as a child.  We received palm branches as we entered the church, and much to my delight, we waved them enthusiastically during the procession and while the Gospel was proclaimed.  I felt joy in this moment.  I enjoyed the pageantry of it, and appreciated seeing my congregation display a spark of passion and life that I didn’t see every Sunday.  Mostly, I recall feeling a deep sense of community as we collectively welcomed Christ and expressed our devotion to Him.

Moments later, however, when the Passion was proclaimed, I found myself, along with the rest of the congregation, calling for Jesus to be crucified.  As a child, I couldn’t make sense of this.  Why does the Church, the people of God, have such a tragic change of heart within the course of the Palm Sunday liturgy?

Now that I’m a little further along on my journey, I see the inherent wisdom in this liturgy because as disciples of Christ, we both embrace and turn away from Christ’s transformative power in our lives.  The Scripture scholar, N.T. Wright, reminds us that as Christians, “We cannot worship the suffering God today and ignore Him tomorrow. We cannot eat and drink the body and blood of the passionate and compassionate God today, and then refuse to live passionately and compassionately tomorrow.”  But, all too often, this is exactly what we do.  We, individual disciples and the Christian community, in our weakness, fail to be faithful to Jesus and His Way even as we claim to follow Him.  Today’s liturgy reminds us that if we proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, we must be willing to give our lives to Him and His way.  We must be open to the Spirit, take up our crosses, and be for the world what Jesus was for the world — announcing the Reign of God, challenging oppressive structures, and bringing healing and peace to a world in pain.
Lord, send Your Spirit upon us so that we may embrace Christ’s transformative power in our lives, and in Your merciful love, help us and strengthen us when we miss the mark.  Amen.

Jason Moore, ‘01, Assistant Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry

Procession Gospel: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18a, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47:66 or 15:1-39

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

1 comment:

Anna said...

Wow captured this so perfectly. Both embracing and turning away from Christ. This dramatic shift back and forth mirrors what we often do in our lives. Thank you for sharing this powerful reflection.