Suffering, death, and resurrection – that’s the paschal mystery, and that’s also the story of our life. As we celebrate Palm Sunday, our Lenten journey takes a dramatic turn. Jesus enters into His final week, He takes humanity with Him and continues to do so every Easter. We are not just remembering a historical event that happened over two thousand years ago. We are celebrating and taking part in the paschal mystery.
As we reflect on the Gospel, I have often wondered:
Where am I in the story? Who am I in the story? Am I like Judas in any way? When have I betrayed others or Jesus? When, like Peter, have I denied knowing Jesus? Am I like Pilate when I judge and condemn others?
How am I like Simon or Veronica who help Jesus in His time of need? Having stood with the crowd shouting out His name and welcoming Jesus, will I stand with the same people spitting out insults as I shout ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’?
Throughout different seasons in my life, I can relate to all of the characters presented in the Gospel. I can most relate to the crowd shouting “Crucify Him.” There have been times in my life where in my own shortcomings and failings I have helped nail Jesus to the Cross. It took me a while before coming to the realization that self-knowledge was important for me to grow in the spiritual life – recognizing my strengths and weaknesses and understanding I am in need of a Savior. I can’t do this by myself. I often live under the illusion that I can save myself and I can do it on my own. However, God had already saved me. He calls us to cooperate with His grace and His will.
I pray that as we enter into the holiest week of the year, we will be drawn closer to Him and each other.