Palm Sunday

Towards the end of my first year in Jamaica, the late spring of 2010, our neighbourhood was traumatized by incredible violence. The government had first sent in the police and then the army to arrest the major gang leader. Two of us remained at the church so that we could stay with the people. In remaining with the people, it also allowed us, when martial law permitted, to provide food for those trapped in their houses. At the same time, the army used the church garage as a sort of headquarters. On the surface we could be accused of hypocrisy –we helped both sides.  Instead of hypocrisy, the reason why we were concerned for both was because we’re Christians. The life of a gunman is as valuable and precious to God as the life of a soldier.  And the life of a soldier is as valuable and precious to God as the life of a gunman.  It was our way of making Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem a reality in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. And that reality is that God refuses not to love.
In our Gospel we see Jesus making preparations to enter Jerusalem, entering the city, having the Last Supper, facing arrest and interrogation and finally, dying on the Cross.  What do we see in all of this?  We see a God who is also fully human, who could have gone the other way, who could have escaped.  As he said in Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.”  And yet he continued.  If he did not continue, this would have deadly effects for us.  Our God would not be a God of unconditional love, but a God who would love and who would serve only when our responses deserved such action.  In all the difficulties we face in life and in our faith, with all the things that don’t seem to make too much sense, Jesus gives us this most incredible gift as he enters Jerusalem.  And the gift that he gives is the heart knowledge that we are each loved no matter what.
When the crowds greeted Jesus in Jerusalem they gave shouts of joy and sang “Hosanna!  Hosanna!” –for they thought they were greeting their new king who would free Israel from the hands of the oppressor. In the place of such a leader, they were offered something so different.  As Paul writes, he “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”  In the place of power they were offered love.  On this day in which we celebrate Palm Sunday how do we welcome a poor and loving God?  I think that there is something greater than power or prestige.  And that is love.  Even more than that is the knowledge in all of our hearts that come what may, regardless of the things we’re proud of and things we’re ashamed of, we are loved no matter what.

God Bless and Take Care!
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