Today is Palm Sunday, but you will notice in your bulletin it has two names. “The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday”
This because there are two distinct parts to our celebration today. The first being a commemoration of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.
We read from the Gospel according to St. Matthew about this event.
“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of an ass.”
This fulfills the prophecy, from Zechariah, in the 9th chapter, the 9th verse:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on an ass,
on a colt the foal of an ass.
Our little parade this morning was just a small homage to what must have been a big event. You know what happens when people see a parade go by, right? Everyone wants to watch, or join in the fun.
The disciples were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” It must have been very exciting to see the prophesy come true.
The big parade suddenly gives way to the passion. I always find it difficult to go from “Hosanna to the son of David”, to shouts of “crucify him!” Don’t you?
But we are starting Holy Week, the holiest week of the year. From today until next Sunday we will enter into a time of remembrance and participation with Jesus in his last week on earth.
Our participation in the Passion Gospel allows us to continue our travels with Jesus during his very last days on earth. We get to experience the trial, the scourging, the crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord, and we can then anticipate his resurrection.
Our shouts of “Crucify him!” could be turned to “Crucify us with him!”
St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
What does that mean to me? First it means that my old sinful life is dead. I am no longer obedient to sin and death. I am no longer under the condemnation of sin. My sins were nailed to the cross with Christ.
Secondly, It means the Spirit of Christ lives in me, guiding me, leading me, speaking to me. In all of my actions, I try to model myself after Jesus, which means I am quick to forgive, and I am generous with love.
Do I sometimes slip into old habits that are contrary to my new life in Christ. Well, frankly yes, but I am not trapped there. When I fall on my knees, I can look up to Jesus, and I can once again seek his will for my life. I am not perfect by any means, but I am being perfected by the grace of faith in our Lord Jesus. The cross is the means of grace.
And it is in the Name of Jesus that I can do all things pleasing to the Father.
St. Paul wrote this to the Philippians, and it sums it up nicely.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.