The Palm Sunday liturgy begins with a reading of a jubilant crowd, escorting Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. They spread their cloaks on the ground before Him, while others cut branches from the trees to place along the road. The crowds all around cheering, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!”
The readings shift from support of Jesus as their “King”, to a more somber scene of betrayal, mockery, and cruelty. This is the reason Jesus came to Jerusalem in the first place. He comes to triumph over the sin of mens’ hearts. Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22)
We are a fickle people. At one moment we are in support of someone; and in another we react with violence, gossip, name calling, rejoicing in their pain. This is what is portrayed this Sunday. As you carry your palm branches into the Church, and have them blessed, take them home and place them with your crucifix as a constant reminder of our capacity to be “fair-weather” followers of Jesus. Sure, it is easy to follow Him when things are going well. But what about when life is hard? Do we turn on the Suffering Servant, and add to his wounds? Do we praise God in one moment, and then curse Him the next when the tide turns ugly?
Let us take some time this Holy Week, and work to be faithful to our Lord Jesus, in good times and in bad, in jubilant moments and frightening ones. May the praise of the Lord always be on our lips and in our hearts, that we always sing Hosannas to the King of Kings!