Wednesday, April 13, 2022


 Palm Sunday has always had two gospels. The first, as we did earlier, always occurred before we commenced our Eucharistic celebration. In fact, before Vatican II the celebrant and deacon wore a different vestment before the Palm Sunday Mass would begin. This portion of the liturgy, as we did today, always began with a blessing of Palms, followed by the gospel which recalls Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and then a procession. No different today, except the red vestments I am wearing, would be removed and replaced with the Lenten purple, since that colour is more fitting to read the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What the Church is illustrating are two ideas of glory. The glory of a king coming into Jerusalem, as many were happy to cheer. And the glory of the cross of Christ, that some believe is foolish and others see as the very power of God.

Needless to say, many people still warn one another when it comes to Palm Sunday, be prepared to be at Mass longer. The gospel is so long.

An example is captured in this story of two brothers. Unlike today, we were never lucky enough to have Covid (if this is considered luck) which would shorten the gospel and how long we were at Mass.

Apparently the younger brother, five-year old Marty, said he had a sore throat and so stayed home with his Aunt Earla who would go to Mass later. 

Anyway, when the family returned home, everyone was carrying palm fronds. Marty immediately asked: “What and why everyone had them.” His dad explained, “People held these palms over Jesus' head as he walked by.”

Marty quickly replied: 'Wouldn't you just know it?' The one Sunday I don't go to Mass Jesus shows up.'

Funny story but with an important lesson. We are a little like Marty, we wish to skip the hard lessons, but still hope for a divine experience.

But this Palm Sunday liturgy is intended to help us walk with Jesus during holy week. It is given to us to consider who we are when we celebrate Good Friday”

Are we the palm waivers? Happy to cheer for a Jesus that represents our idea of a Messiah, someone coming like an earthly king, or do we choose to walk with Jesus, never abandon him when our faith is tested?

Are we happy to stand and watch – as Luke reports the people did watching Jesus being crucified, or can we stand in solidarity with Jesus as we will hear on Good Friday, when Mary and John stood at the cross?

As a way to help us consider who we are in the passion story is to take time during holy week to gaze at the crucified Jesus. Doing this during Holy Week is an ancient practice, going back to the very beginning of Christianity.

These early Christians knew the story of Moses, as recorded in the book of Numbers, where God asked him to create a bronze image of a poisonous snake. This image was an antidote for all those Israelites who had been bitten by a snake were likely to die. If they gazed upon this image, they would live. As Saint Paul taught, for some the cross is foolishness and for others, it is a source of new life.

There are many ways to gaze upon the crucified Christ…we can look at an actual crucifix, or artwork…stations of the

Keeping that in mind, as we gaze upon the cross this week,… gaze upon the one who emptied himself in love for us—gaze upon the one who refused the lure of political power…refused the opportunity to lash out in revenge, but asked for forgiveness for his persecutors instead.

Gaze upon the cross in gratitude that Jesus died for us, but more importantly, and often overlooked, Jesus’ suffering, death on the cross is a reminder that God stands in solidarity with all our suffering and pain.


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