Meditation – 14th April 2019

The Deep End – Towards the cross
We know where Jesus is going to end up, and Jesus knows it
too. At the beginning of today’s Mass, we hear of Jesus’
spectacular entrance into Jerusalem. The crowds who greet
him cry out and praise God – the King has come! It is similar
to how victorious army generals were welcomed home. These
people have set their hopes on Jesus. They are waiting for a
Messiah and King, and have heard so much about this preacher
– is he the one they’ve been waiting for?
But Jesus is not the hero they’ve been expecting. He has not
come to raise up an army or become a great political leader.
Quite the opposite: Jesus has come to Jerusalem to die. The
story takes a dark and dramatic turn, and we are plunged into a
tale of arrest, trial, torture, and death. Before long, the crowds
are shouting ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ and taunting him on
the cross to ‘save himself if he is the Christ of God’. Jesus’
triumphant entrance into the city is also his entry into his
betrayal, suffering, and death.
We play our part in the unfolding drama today, as we first hold
up our palm branches and later join the crowds condemning
Jesus. In his Palm Sunday homily to young people last year,
Pope Francis said the changing reactions of the crowds
‘expresses contradictory feelings that we too, the men and
women of today, experience: the capacity for great love, but
also for great hatred; the capacity for courageous self-sacrifice,
but also the ability to “wash our hands”. ’
Today we place ourselves in the Passion of Jesus, and we look
to the Cross as our consolation and our challenge.
Tríona Doherty