Taking it Personally on Palm Sunday

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

When something dreadful is going on in my life, I know it.  I’m aware of some pending doom, whether illness, difficult decision, a friend who is unhappy or an encounter that has left me uneasy. 

If I am aware when the wind is blowing the wrong direction, surely Jesus was aware on Palm Sunday – in spite of being honored and hailed as King – that his coming into Jerusalem meant serious danger awaited him.  I wonder what his inner consciousness told him, what his inner feelings and thinking were.

There had to be a keen sense of dread, mourning and horror, yet he planned the Last Supper in the city of Jerusalem.

Rather than going the other direction, Jesus came head on to meet his accusers, persecutors and crucifiers.

So for me, Palm Sunday is a day of very mixed emotions.  It is difficult to sing the hosannas joyfully when I know what is to follow as Jesus meets with Pilate, the chief priests, the Elders and the scribes within five days of Palm Sunday.

Today and this week, let us reread the Gospel and feel the pain and anguish Jesus must have experienced. Let’s ponder how to respond, personally. Let’s treat one another – and ourselves – extra gently. Let’s do what Jesus came to teach us to do: to love one another as he loved us.

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