Sunday reflection 10 April – Palm Sunday

Readings: Luke 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-24; Phil 2:6-11; Luke 22:14 – 23:56

There is a double edge to Palm Sunday. Jesus is worshipped as he enters Jerusalem. Yet we know a similar crowd will be baying for his blood in a few short days. 

What should we take from the account of the events of Jesus’ passion and death? Here we go again? Rather, let us ponder these events, contemplating the intersections with our lives.

Ultimately, Jesus came to bring the reign of God. The scriptures tell us the reign of God is brought about through justice and right relationships. In following that path, that is why so many people, both here and overseas, march for peace and justice on Palm Sunday. 

Both the first reading from Isaiah, one of the songs of the suffering servant and the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians emphasise that Jesus died willingly: ‘obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross’.

We can learn dignity in our trials, such as the death of a loved one, the pain of bullying or the many and varied ways that people have had to endure the pandemic. Like people of faith before us, we might utter the response from today’s psalm as we feel abandoned by God at times. Hopefully in the end we will echo the final verse from today’s first reading:

The Lord GOD is my help,
            therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
            knowing that I shall not be put to shame. (Is 50:7)

Jesus preached peace and justice – but not in a subservient way. Rather his words of justice for the downtrodden annoyed the authorities so much, he was killed. Thus we can learn integrity. Ultimately, may we be people of justice like Jesus and so echo these adapted words from the prophet Micah:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

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