Palm Sunday: An Exercise In Faith
There it was again on the Liturgical calendar~Palm Sunday! I could feel my spiritual angst rising at the mere thought of it. I am one of those people who does not quite know how to feel on Passion (Palm Sunday). This day begins the most different and amazing week of the entire year, Holy Week. It is the week that changed the world, the week in which our salvation is won. And here I was feeling spiritual angst.
I go to my parish's 5:30 vigil Mass because I have the midnight hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and sometimes that hour turns into two or more, so getting up for Mass on Sunday morning is a bit dicey. As I entered the church last evening, I knelt and prayed as I usually do, but I decided to have a little conversation with Jesus about how I was feeling. I asked Him how He wanted me to live this day. I started thinking about the events of that first Palm Sunday. Jesus was coming from his friends' home in Bethany to the Mount of Olives, and then it was on to Jerusalem. I thought about those who accompanied Him from Bethany: the Apostles, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and I decided that I would join them... and in that moment I began to feel more peaceful.
Mass had begun, and then it was time for the reading of the Gospel, the Lord's Passion. It is the one Gospel (read today and then again on Good Friday) that we as the faithful are allowed to participate in its reading. Holy Mother Church, in her wisdom has us take the parts of the Crowd;in some spots it is the voice of those who "accuse" Peter of being one of Jesus' followers, and at others we are the voice of the crowd shouting "Crucify Him!" I became more aware of those different voices this year, and thought that one of the reasons the Church may have the faithful be different voices is because at any given time, we could be any of those people.
The other thought that came to me in my pre-Mass prayer was the advice that Fr. Michael Gaitley gives at the beginning of Consoling the Heart of Jesus, and that is that all during Lent, and especially during Holy Week, Jesus wants us to walk with Him~ not behind Him or ahead of Him, but with Him. (Actually that's where we should always be.) I realized much of my Palm Sunday angst was coming from running ahead of Our Lord. I also realized that it was OK for me to not understand why Our Lord chose to do this (aside from fulfilling Scripture). I just had to believe and trust.
I said earlier that I chose to join those accompanying Jesus on that first Palm Sunday. I will stick by them all through this holiest of weeks. I will stay especially close to Mary Magdalen and Our Lady. I am sure they will both be sure to pull me back if I start to fall be hind or get ahead of Jesus.
In addition to Fr. Gaitley's advice, I will also follow Andrew of Crete's:
"So let us spread before His feet, not garments or soul~less olives 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 we spread before Him. (Office of Readings for Palm Sunday)
Lord Jesus,you do
I may not always understand why You did and do the things You do, and I know that You don't require my understanding, just my faith and love. As we commemorate Your entrance into Jerusalem, may I lay down my heart and soul before You; may they be Jerusalem for You. I welcome You and adore You with all that I am.
A Blessed Holy Week to all who visit here.
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