Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. It starts with a joyous feel and a very happy and welcoming vibe. A welcome that is fit for a King, but there is a slight difference: he comes not on a horse, but a donkey, enacting the very words he taught the people who were his followers, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’.
Well, even though it was prophesied, a long time ago, it all began with the Annunciation and Mary saying ‘Yes’ to God’s will. So we now fast forward to events in this Holy Week.
Jesus comes back after forty days of fasting and having a face-to-face combat with Satan who tries to tempt him; we all too face temptations in our lives, and it is difficult to deal with them at times. However this week leads us through Jesus returning after the victory over Satan, and to a feast which includes celebration and the sharing of the bread and wine. It is the occasion when Jesus instituted the celebration of the Mass, when he said ‘do this in memory of me’. In our parish we celebrate Mass twice every day of the week and we have six on Saturday evenings and Sundays, so there is ample opportunity to attend one whenever it suits you.
What Jesus does next is intermingle the glory and honour he received on Palm Sunday into an act of humility towards his disciples, thus teaching us how to be of service to our fellow men and women. By washing the feet of his disciples, he is teaching them the way to live. I think that is an important lesson for anybody who wants to be a leader, whether they are leading an organisation or a country.
While all this celebration and eating and drinking continues, the story turns into a very grim situation, as he is betrayed by one of his very own. As a result, he suffers a horrific death, a death on a cross. We know through the gospels that Jesus knowingly walked into it, he knew what was coming. As we enter this week, we also are very mindful of what is to come, but sometimes we tend to focus on the negatives. Sometimes even thinking of Palm Sunday reminds us of Good Friday. In a sense it overshadows Easter and we tend to forget that the whole reason for the Annunciation, Christmas, and Good Friday is Easter. The light of the world, the day that has brought salvation to the whole of humankind.
Deacon Sandy Misquitta