Reflection for Sunday, April 10, 2022: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.
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|Mass was about to begin when my little granddaughter (about 3 years old at the time) pointed to a large crucifix on the wall nearby and whispered to me, "Is he going to come down?" I thought she might be somewhat fearful, so I leaned over and gave her a hug. She looked at me and said with all her heart, "Mimi, I want him to come down. That is Jesus!" People seated nearby smiled and nodded.|Our readings today invite us to experience both exuberant joy and profound sorrow. The joy emerges during the procession of palms gospel when Jesus enters Jerusalem with "…people spreading their cloaks on the road…" and praising God "…for all the mighty deeds they had seen." Those who had heard about or seen him were joyful as he rode into Jerusalem on a colt. And like my granddaughter, they wanted him to come down and be with them.|The gospel during the liturgy plummets us into the depth of sorrow as we hear the description of the terrible injustice of the capture of Jesus, the interrogation by Pilate and Herod, and finally, the anger of the crowd calling for his crucifixion. Those who loved Jesus were overwhelmed with feelings of powerlessness and terror. They wanted him to return to them and continue to lead with compassion and grace. But for him to return in human form was not to be.|As I write this reflection, Russia has invaded Ukraine and the atrocities of violence and ruthlessness pummel our senses day in and day out. Over three million people have fled the country as evil infiltrates in the form of mass destruction. Like the disciples and followers of Jesus, we too are experiencing powerlessness and fear.|Several days ago, during the Angelus prayer at the Vatican, Pope Francis said, "Those who wage war forget humanity. They do not start from the people; they do not look at the real life of people but place partisan interests and power before all else. They trust in the diabolical and perverse logic of weapons, which is the furthest from the logic of God…put down your weapons! God is with the peacemakers, not with those who use violence." [ source ] The words of Pope Francis will continue to echo throughout this holiest of weeks when we face the violence of the crucifixion and death of Jesus.|Holy Week is upon us with its messages of hope and despair; joy and grief—intermingled with the promise of salvation. There is a call here to invite Jesus to become a deeper part of our lives. May he be the lens with which we act, serve, and see. And as the world experiences our peaceful actions of love, compassion, and prayer, perhaps they too will declare: "That is Jesus!"
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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