We know this Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and is called both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.
I'm thinking about Passion.
Mostly because I get so nuts that people are more excited over Palms then the Eucharist. I wish we had better explained to our folks that the Eucharist is something of a 'give away' or 'take home' EVERY week, EVERY day...and worth much more to our souls then...palm...
Maybe I need to look at the passion that surrounds folks and their desire to participate in this palm ritual and think about how to help them go deeper into the mystery of Holy Week...with their palm branches.
We retell the story of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, with crowds chanting Hosanna and wanted to be a part of the glory of the moment.
We know those same folks are the ones a few days later shouting "Crucify him!" and rejecting any knowledge of Jesus or the good he had done.
Crowds can be crazy --passionate yes--but crazy too. It's easy to get swept along in the energy of the moment without perhaps paying close attention to what's really happening around us.
Back in the day, when I was teaching high school, I used to do an exercise with my students to help them think about what values were the most important, the last thing they would willingly give up. After spirited conversation among them, where they said things like: family, friendship, and so on, I would chime in and add my two cents. I'd say that the last thing in the world I would give up would be--passion. And they'd look at me amazed that I would offer something so self revealing to them. I would explain simply by saying that I could't imagine getting up each morning if I didn't care so deeply for the world around me, and the people who were a part of my life. That passion, to me, meant caring deeply for others. That's what I wouldn't give up.
What kind of passion did Jesus hold in his heart for us that he willingly entered into all of Holy week, the excitement of Palm Sunday, the bittersweet moments of Holy Thursday, the absolute horror of Good Friday...the mystery of the tomb and the resurrection. What great love!
What do we need to hold close to our hearts this last week of Lent? What do we need to ask God to help us with? How can these palm branches help us to remember to live our lives with a passion so deep that we can't help but love our sisters and brothers in the world around us more deeply? Maybe this year, let these palms symbolize a great love, a great passion within us to help make a change for the better in our part of the world. How we do that? I don't know...but I think that should be a part of our Holy Week and Easter prayer! Let us pray for one another during these most holy days.