Posted tagged ‘Palm Sunday’


April 11, 2017


“Live deliberately, ”  I tell my classes.  “Make deliberate,  conscious choices.”    (So during this Holy Week,  I choose to direct my attention more often to the cosmic, eternal events which makes this week so full of opportunity for us.)

 “Be present.”

This week begins with the familiar story of Palm Sunday.  


road to jerusalem

It had been a pilgrim’s journey to Jerusalem, where observant Jews can be  present for Passover.   Jesus had been making the  journey to this Passover in Jerusalem for a few days, and He made a few stops along the way.

Did you know that once Jesus was scolded for not being “present”?

There is a city along the way to Jerusalem called Bethany.    A man named Lazarus lived there with his two sisters.    He became very sick and was dying.  The sisters sent word to Jesus to come quickly and heal him.  

(Here is an aerial view of Bethany’s location, down in the corner):

aerial view

But Jesus did not arrive quickly;   Lazarus was dead by the time He got there.

The sisters  scolded and said,    “If you had been here sooner,  you could have done something for him!”     ( If you had been  present here,  our brother would not have died.)        But Jesus had not been present when needed,  or so they thought.  We know what Jesus did for Lazarus.    The sisters are united with their brother.

marthaThen it was time to take care of their Guest, a Guest who is now present.   But Martha scurried away to get the food and drink ready.   Only her sister Mary remained  present at the side of Jesus to hear every word He had to say.

One present at His side,  one not;  and Jesus said that Mary had chosen the “better part.”   I don’t need to point out that being present for Jesus at every moment is indeed the better part.     How much you can miss when you’re scurrying about with other duties and other thoughts!!

Then,  on the first day of the week,  Jesus walked all the way into Jerusalem– and was met by many people who had anticipated that He would be present in the city!

Palm branches

Yes,  it’s ironic that the same population who was heralding Him as their  Blessed King “who comes in the name of the LORD”  is the same population that cried out that they have no king but Herod — so crucify this Man!

But for now,  on this Palm Sunday,  they rejoiced that He was present in their midst and that they  themselves were present to sing highest praises of hosannas in His presence.

And after this day of palms?    The next day He made Himself present to the people of the city He loved.         He was present and exposed to anyone who wanted to make a case against Him.

He walked around,  He talked,  He healed,   He answered questions,   He was out in the open,  totally present to anyone who wanted to find out about Him.

Again,  present, as He is for us today,  without us  having to buy a ticket to fly to Jerusalem.


So being present is a two-way phenomenon.   Someone is present for you;  and you make yourself present to Someone.

Same way it always was.




April 13, 2014

Throughout our lives we’ve heard the stories of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through the Closing of the Tomb.  Stories,  with lots of characters.

crowd at st peter's  By chance, I heard a sermon today, coming out of the Vatican.

Pope Francis delivered a short sermon for Palm Sunday, heard by many in the world,  Catholics and non-Catholics alike.   His words  for us were a challenge to look into ourselves and discover just what our part is during this week.


Our “part,”  as in a play;  which character would we be?

Which one of the disciples who accompanied Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane?

Am I the disciple who sleeps during the suffering of Jesus,  without strength and enough will to carry me through?    Without knowledge of the seriousness of the issues,  of sin and its costs, of love and its self-sacrifice –  so I go about my business. . . and take my rest when I need to?

Am I one of the disciples who begins to pray…and wearies?

Am I one of the soldiers who is just “obeying the law” –  just “doing what I was told to do?

Am I one who solves problems by the force of a sword,  verbal or otherwise?

Am I one who can show signs of love and friendship, but in my heart I have my own thoughts and own interests in mind.

Am I one who scatters when the going gets tough?

Am I one who mocks the things of Christ?

Am I one who chooses not to believe the most obvious to human reason:  that God exists and God is Love and Justice…and Mercy?

Am I silent when Christ is misunderstood, mocked?  

Am I cynical and wash my hands of the whole affair?

Am I repentant?  

Am I open to understanding, hope, and faith?

You can make up your own list of questions,  but let the people who lived at the time of the Crucifixion haunt you.



April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday,  when the winds of happiness swirl and rise up like a dust devil, stirring the dry leaves and dead dust along the way.   The people in the city that day were like the dry leaves and dead dust,  lifted up and stirred in their attentions and emotions.   They were happy that day for having a great prophet come into their midst, perhaps even a messiah from God.

The many in the crowd waved palm branches, and laid their palms and cloaks before Him not knowing they were fulfilling centuries-old prophecy.

Palm sunday crowd

They were who they were just as we are who we are.  And without submitting to the work of God in us,  that’s all we will be.    Dry leaves and dust, swirled around by the changing opinions of our times.

Palm Sunday reminds us that we are one of the people in the crowd.   Unless you think you are “special”  and “apart from the crowd”  and “exempt”  somehow,    we are all just  one of many in a city,  one of many humans of all kinds.   The Savior goes before us and we —  ?

We must follow Him, and in following Him become His disciple, and in becoming His disciple,  then we must love Him, and in loving Him, we come alive and are changed and become . . . better –  like Him.  He is the Way.  He is also Truth — finally! we can follow Truth! — and He is our Life, for now and after passing through our deaths,  He is our Life forever.

Where do we learn more?   It’s a difficult task today.  There are many “shepherds”  who don’t shepherd us to the Good Shepherd.   They have “issues” of their own, and for whatever reason do not or cannot speak out, .  They are mute, for us;  “dumb”  was the old-fashioned word meaning one cannot speak.

As the Prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messiah,  so he also spoke of the Messiah’s shepherds,  and how they would one day cease to point out the Messiah for us.  .  “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”  (Isaiah 56:10)

A little harsh, maybe;  they need our prayers.  But still – it’s a warning.  If our watchman are silent,  we must still search out Truth, learn what Jesus has taught, and come to Him and to his Church.

Otherwise we’re just being swirled around by the Dirt Devils, following the crowds and popular opinion,  and the Dumb Dogs allow us to remain as useless dust, returning to the dust we were made out of.



March 24, 2013


On this day, Sunday. . .

Palm Sunday sign

. . . .  the Sunday before the Last Passover, the Sunday of what we now call Holy Week,  a crowd of people noisily and joyfully acclaimed Jesus to be their choice….Hosanna!   This is He  who comes in the name of the LORD!   This One is the Son of David!

And while they hailed Him with palm and olive branches, with their robes cast down, and with their jubilant acclaims,   others in their families and others in the Holy City were also making a choice.

Lamb so little

It would be Passover soon,  and it was the time to choose their Passover animal for sacrifice   A lamb, best of all, if you could afford one, for your Passover sacrifice and meal.    A perfect, gentle, little lamb, meek and mild. . .

Palm Sunday is a day for choices. but for  pondering what it is you are choosing.