How Fickle Are We In Our Commitment To Christ?

Sunday of Holy Week in Lent - Year B

Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-10 & Mark 14:1-15,47

There is a stark difference In today's two readings from Saint Mark: what happened that Jesus went from being hailed a King to the chants of "crucify Him" within just a few days? It is the story of how fickle people can be as the initial joy fades into the distance and they willingly followed Him on the death march to Calvary.

The first reading tells us about the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people there are overjoyed and hail Him as their King. He gets the "red carpet" treatment with cloaks and palms jubilantly strewn in His path. We are given the opportunity of joining them, too, as we parade either around the Church or its grounds with our single palms and singing to our King.

Then in the reading of the Passion the mood changes. The King that we hailed is now degraded to the level of a criminal. The waving palms are replaced with whips, spitting and insults. The donkey is no longer there to support Him. He now has to carry a heavy cross that rubs through His skin and on to His shoulder bone, causing what Jesus told one saint was the most excruciating pain He physically felt in His Passion. The crowd are now leading Him out of Jerusalem to Golgotha, the place of execution.

The priest encourages the people to join in reading the Passion by saying the words of the people. Some do so vigorously shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" The priest knows they don't mean it. They are play acting but He tries to imagine how those words must have affected Jesus when He first heard them. We wonder could this possibly have been the same crowd who had only five days earlier shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" We know the Lord Jesus is always the same yesterday, today and forever, but this crowd's action shows how fickle people can be.

Today we begin the greatest week in Our Lord's life. If you and I really care for Jesus and want to thank Him for all He has done for us and is still doing, we will want to follow Him every step of this journey from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem to His rising from the dead. In this week we shall witness the deep suffering of Jesus which involves severe physical pain, keen emotional stress and acute depression. He accepted all this because He wanted to be obedient to His Heavenly Father and save every one of His sinful brothers and sisters who had strayed from God's love. He also wanted to fulfil the Will of His Father and be that Perfect Creature to love Him in return. It would be a tragedy if we could be in Church with Jesus during this week and we are not. Don't let the next time Jesus sees you in Church be on Easter Sunday. Be with Him all through the week in His greatest moments of love.

Holy Spirit, give me the wisdom to understand that the events in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago were the most important in human history, and inspire me to show my gratitude to Our Lord for what He accomplished by participating in the Church services of this Holy Week.