S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Behold, your King is coming!

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Lord'd Passion. It is traditional that Catholics would go to their parish churches with palms and branches to be blessed during the Liturgy. As we look at the Gospel passages used in the Liturgy, we are somehow confounded by the inconsistencies of the people. In the beginning of the Liturgy, when we have our palms/branches blessed, the presider reads from either Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16 where Jesus is being welcomed by the people of Jerusalem upon His entry to the city. We read that they took branches of palms and cries out to meet Him "Hossana in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! (John 12:13). We are presented with Israel's delight in the person of Jesus.

But as we progress in the Liturgy, we read in the Gospel the passion and death of Jesus (Mark 14:1:72/Mark 15:1:47/Mark 15:1-39), when he finally opened His arms on the cross for the salvation of the world. And we once again meet the people of Jerusalem, but this time shouting "Crucify Him! Crucufy Him!" (Mark 15:13-14). The people who welcomed Him with acclamations of hossana were the very people who shout for His death. They are an inconsistent people.

In our daily lives as Christians, we find ourselves very much like them. In one point we welcome the Lord wholeheartedly with our prayers and worship, but then we despise Him through our sins and failings. But we should not lose hope. This is the very essence we celebrate today: Hope in the great love of God who offered His Son to us for our salvation. Christ's suffering and death ushered new life for us. By His very wounds, we were made whole.


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