Palm Sunday Reflection 2024

We begin this Holy Week with Mark telling us about the amazing “prediction” of Jesus, concerning where the disciples would find the colt, and where it would be tied. Can you imagine how these disciples felt, finding everything as our Lord said! We are then filled with joy, as people are celebrating Jesus for who he is and what he has done! You can see the full palms waving in front of Jesus as he rides into town in this beautiful, colourful procession! It must have been a sunny day! 

     Then in our first reading we hear the prophetic, painful words of Isaiah, as the joy plummets in our stomachs: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” Surely no! Surely no one would do such a thing to the man who healed the sick, made the blind see and the lame walk!

     Our mind’s eye can visualize this prophecy of Isaiah, but our heart aches at speaking the words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The psalm again, written long before Christ’s birth, captures the depth of pain of Christ’s last few words.

   We have a small reprieve from the pit of despair when we hear from Paul in the second reading. He gives us hope as he explains that God’s plan is at play and that His son, Jesus Christ, bore all of this for all humanity, for all of us. So that we can enter the kingdom of heaven one day.

     One of my favourite visualizations is seeing this woman in Bethany, pouring this expensive oil all over Jesus’s head and feet, using her thick black hair to wipe the oil. Of course, Judas Iscariot, with greed in his heart, complains that she is wasting this oil by anointing him. Jesus would be denied much of the rituals of death, but this would be given in its place.

     We can see the preparations being made for Passover; the lovely upper room ready to seat twelve. We can hear Jesus call out to the one who would betray him; we witness in our mind’s eye the first breaking of the bread, our hearts filled with gratitude. The reading takes us to all the darkness of those following 24 hours. Great sadness fills us as we exit the church, knowing what will be coming over the next 6 days.

     We will hear different details/perspectives throughout Holy Week. We are meant to journey with Christ through this painfully difficult time. I pray we each will open our hearts to this journey and unite ourselves on the cross of Good Friday, so that we can joyfully witness the Resurrection – our future with Christ.

– Eddie MacDonald

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