Palm Sunday

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As I began reading the emotional content in today’s readings, I really didn’t know where to begin this sharing. I could focus on the tragic events, but instead, I’d rather take a real-life look at the strength and humility that flows from these words.

The reading from Isaiah said that even if people spit on or hit us, we will never be ashamed of speaking to people about God’s love and mercy. We will not rebel against God and we will not turn back. Prophets like Isaiah are stubborn, They’re convinced that the “gates” of fear and anger that keep people locked into their personal hells crumble under the power of love.

In today’s psalm, probably the most poignant lament of our liturgical year, Jesus reminds us of pain – every child who has lost his best friend: every mother whose child is in prison: every father who has to tell his wife and children that he is dying: each first responder who has to work in scenes of tragedy and death; each Air Force chaplain who comforts and consoles. The list goes on. Yet, look at the last verse of the psalm. Isaiah’s pure strength and defiance surfaces again; “I will proclaim your name to my brethren…”

And finally we hear the Passion. By now, we probably realize that we’re called to identify with Jesus. Not simply imitate – identify is the word. Think about it. How many of us have been betrayed by a friend? Or a family member? Or had friends who distanced themselves from us in order to keep other friends? How many of us have been accused of things that we didn’t do? And, how many of us have forgiven them? This is how they will know we are Christians…

It takes a lot of stubbornness and courage – and love – to live, as the early Christians called it, “The Way”. At times it can be our reallife Lent – but we know for certain that it also holds the promise of a real-life Easter. How can we do otherwise?

Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA

[When I was a child, my father said “Dottie, never be ashamed of who you are or where you came from”. He no doubt heard that message from his parents – and he believed that every child needed to be told.]