This Lent has been about walking in the ways of Christ, meditating on his teachings and contemplating his life. And now Christ is leading us to some very powerful places of prayer: Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.
Are you ready for it? To be honest, I don’t think I am. You see, Palm Sunday always makes me nervous. I am timid to contemplate about the Pharisee’s conniving plans, Jesus’ passion and death, and the disciples’ betraying fear. Those contemplations take me to places within my own nature (and the nature of the world) that I would much rather skip over.
But I am consoled to imagine that Jesus and his disciples were just as nervous and scared (if not more so) to enter Jerusalem: to be hailed as a King by some and sought out for blasphemy and treason by others. I realize in that consoling identification with the situation of Jesus and the disciples that, whether or not I am “ready” for Holy Week, already Christ is drawing me into it.
So it is for all of us. Whether we are “ready” or not, we have entered Holy Week. We are walking with Christ, surrounded by the Poor, passing through the gates of the great city Jerusalem and preparing ourselves for the events to come.
To walk through this world as a Christian is to walk as Christ walked, talk as he talked, serve as he served, pray as he prayed. It means to embrace both the cross and the crucifier. It means to comfort the oppressed and the oppressor. It is a giving of ourselves (even in uncertainty and fear) in trust to God who is loving and merciful. It means to pray, to hope, to love. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Let us give of ourselves to that Kingdom in the hope that God will raise us up.
Christ’s story is nothing new, but it is forever fresh. The words of today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah capture what it is to identify ourselves with the mission of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
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.
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Ready or not, Jesus is inviting the Church, you and I, to join him in his passion and death so as to enter more fully in his glorious resurrection. Humbly, let us go.