Palm Sunday

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Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, a week rich in meaning and purpose. From the moment of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the moment he gave up his life on the cross, we are given a multitude of examples that we can apply to our own daily lives.  The following are just a few that I am learning:

The Donkey: The donkey is a lowly beast of burden, a symbol of humility.  Yet, it was a donkey that played a significant role in the life of Jesus.  It was a donkey who carried Mary, with Jesus in her womb, to Bethlehem where he was born.  It was the breath of the donkey that warmed him as he lay in the manger, and it was a donkey Jesus chose to ride for his entry into Jerusalem as King of the Jews, just before he died.  Most kings rode a stallion, the symbol of a military warrior, but Jesus chose to show us the significance of humility and the way of peace.  Each time we reach out to the poorest of those in God’s world; to the victims of poverty, disease, and war, it is then that we live out God’s peaceable Kingdom here on earth.

Simon helps Jesus carry his cross: Each time we lift the burden from another’s back we are like Simon and the kindness we extend to one another we really extend to Jesus.  When we hold our monthly Mobile Food Pantry you will always see volunteers lift a basket to fill with food and carry to the car for someone old, crippled or just plain overwhelmed.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus: Veronica seemed fearless as she broke through the crowd and the Roman Soldiers to show compassion to Jesus. Each time we wipe the tears of someone who is hurting, ease the suffering of someone at our workplace, have the courage to support someone who is being bullied at school, or comfort those in the hospital or wherever suffering exists, we wipe the face of Jesus.

Jesus is Crucified: The slap on the face, spitting on his face, the crowning with thorns, the scourging, the removing of his clothes, the crucifixion, was not the worst of the sufferings Jesus endured.  It was the terrible longing to be loved, the terrible loneliness that was the deepest part of his suffering.  Out of love for him, shouldn’t we reach out to those who suffer loneliness or those who are homeless?

Jesus Dies:  When Jesus cried out from the cross, “I thirst,” the people thought it was for ordinary water that he was thirsting, but he was really thirsting for our love.  He was dying out of love for the very people who crucified him including you and me. He was thirsting for all souls, but most of all for those who did not know him and I believe he is asking you and me to carry him and his light to those who live in darkness so that through us they will see him, know him and want him.

As we enter this final week of Lent, let each of us look for the opportunity to help the poor, lift someone’s burden, wipe someone’s tears, or reach out to the shut-ins or the homeless.  I believe in doing so, we will carry Jesus and his light to the world around us.

Sylvia Bates