Placing our Souls before the Lord

 

PalmSunday2We begin our Passion (Palm) Sunday liturgy with the proclamation of Matthew 21:1-11, of Jesus’ triumphant procession into Jerusalem upon a colt, while:

a “very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others, cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds proceeding him and those following kept crying out and saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”

It is quite a scene. Imagine being one of Jesus’ followers, seeing your teacher and friend being hailed like a king.

The Gospel tells us that the people in the crowd spread their cloaks along the road. The spreading of one’s cloak was symbolic of laying one’s life down before the passerby. In today’s office of readings, Saint Andrew of Crete gives a another view:

Let us run to accompany Jesus as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then…let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.  (Oratio 9 in ramos palmarum: PG 97, 990-994)

Today, as we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. How easy it is to get caught up in the joyous moment, celebrating the man who rose Lazarus from the dead. But in just a few days, the crowd will turn on Jesus and condemn him to be crucified. As we journey with Jesus this week, from Jerusalem to Golgatha, let us consciously consider what we place before Him in our prayer. As St. Andrew reminds us, “Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments…but…by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish.”

During this Holy Week, let us examine the souls that Jesus purchased with the price of His blood. May our reflection invite us turn our lives over to Jesus anew. Let us be holy as the Lord is holy.

Blessed Holy Week!

Other reflections:

Ed Morrissey: By the end of the week, not even all of His disciples stood by him as he was put to death.

Father Acervo: So as we head into Holy Week, let’s consider two things…

Matthew Higgins: Making Every Friday “Good”

Elizabeth Scalia: A Palm Sunday of Stark Decision

Sr Lisa Marie:  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

The Release Latch

Reading a reflection by Father Vincent Nagle, he tells of a scuba diver going in the water at high-tide and soon found himself unable to make any progress toward a cove. Rather, he was hurled again and again against the rocks. Try as he might the diver could not free himself from the force of the current and could neither go forward nor turn back. He was too laden down with gear and not willing to let it go. There he remained, dashed against the rocks until another diver went in and pulled the release latch, freeing the struggling diver from his gear sending it to the bottom. They both reached safety together.

All of us are laden down with ‘stuff’ that keeps us from progressing. We long to have lasting relationships, deeper faith; to live good and holy lives.

What gets in our way?

Where is the release lever in our lives that frees us so we can make our way to safety? How are we freed so to reach toward what is important? How long will we let ourselves be dashed against the rocks, unwilling to let go of our habits, our possessions, our old self ? We must come to a point and realize we need someone to help us pull the release latch that keeps us weighed down in our ‘stuff’.

It is Holy Week. It is time to let go of the past and to walk in freedom with Jesus towards Jerusalem. Jesus walked to Jerusalem to bear the burden for us.

Will we let him pull the lever? Will we let Him take our burden upon himself and choose in our new freedom to follow him?

It is time to choose.

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842