Reflection for Palm Sunday

  • by

Reflection for Palm Sunday

Delores Dolezal, OSB | April 9, 2022

It’s Palm Sunday! In Luke’s Gospel, no palms are mentioned. What we did hear were: lots of people, (more than we have here in this chapel), rocks, and Jesus riding on a donkey.

The Pharisees were scandalized by the shouting and praising and joy of the welcoming crowds. They asked Jesus to stop them. He said, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

Sister Rosann was fortunate to have visited Jerusalem. I asked her what Jerusalem was like. “Rocks,” she said, “lots and lots of rocks.” So, if the people were silenced, imagine what the shouting would be like!

According to Google, the world holds roughly about 357, 000,000 stones… It depends on how big or small the stones are. There are no agreed boundaries separating pebbles from stones and stones from boulders.

Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. I cannot visualize Jesus waving at the people and cheering with them. But, what might Jesus have been thinking and feeling on this donkey ride? Was He thinking of past rides – like when Mary carried him in her womb as they traveled to Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt, the trip back to Nazareth?   Perhaps Jesus was absorbed in prayer: “Be the fort that saves me, Lord, my helmet when the battle comes.  I keep looking to God to spring me from this trap. Do not abandon me, God. Do not stay far from me.”

Sister Jeanne Marie told me to tell teachers on the first day of school: “Remember, you don’t know everything.” As Jesus looked upon these oh-so-happy, excited people, might He have been thinking, “Oh, you don’t know everything? You don’t know everything.”

Jesus had just been freshly anointed at Bethany. As He drew near Jerusalem, He cried over it and said, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Jesus is being led by the Spirit and responding with obedience and great love to the Father. We, too, are being led by Jesus through the waters of death to become a new creation.

How courageously, peacefully Jesus approached His violent death. The people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus with open arms! He accepted their praises. His ministry was successfully fulfilled. Luke’s Gospel suggests, with this royal entry into Jerusalem, a new section of the Gospel begins: Jesus teaching daily in the temple before His death and resurrection. Luke writes, “During the day, Jesus was teaching in the temple area, but at night He would leave and stay at the place called the Mount of Olives. And all the people would get up early each morning to listen to him in the temple area.”

Since the beginning of Lent, our Morning Liturgy of the Hours readings have been from Ezekiel. He reminded us: “God asks nothing without first giving us the grace of a new heart and a new spirit.” Now we arrive at Holy Week. We watch and pray with Jesus, the Lord of Creation. We see how He completely empties Himself for the sake of love. He invites us to define ourselves by nothing less than our love relationship with the Father and one another. Over time, we will come to understand that our hearts are being led to the heart of the Divine. Someday, somehow, the two hearts will join in the heartbeat of Oneness. We will have “put on the mind of Christ.” We will have arrived at the fullness of life. With Zechariah let us proclaim: Rejoice, rejoice, daughters of Zion, Shout aloud, daughters of Jerusalem; for see, your king is coming to you.

Jesus, remember us when you come into your Kingdom.

Jesus, remember us when you come into your Kingdom.