Palm Sunday is 50: 4-7; PHIL 2:6-11; MT 26:14-27 (YEAR A)

And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. ‘Who is this?’ people asked.” Matthew’s account of Palm Sunday describes the Jerusalem that greeted Jesus as a city in turmoil. Initially the crowds had welcomed him as the Son of David, a superficial enthusiasm that rapidly changed to “crucify him”.

They had wanted to know who this Jesus was. Was he a nationalistic messiah come to deliver Israel from the bondage of Rome, or was he something more? Jesus was to reveal his identity, not in words, but in deeds.

As we begin Holy Week, let us pray for the humility to ask ourselves, who is this Jesus? Do we truly welcome him as the one who, in dying, enables us to die to sin and, in rising, raises us up? Or do we cling to a sinful pride that refuses to die?

Long ago the prophet Isaiah described the “suffering” servant as a listening disciple. To listen as a disciple is to offer no resistance to the truth about ourselves, and to embrace the truth revealed by the Father in the death of his Son.

We cling to vanity, refusing the emptiness that Jesus so willingly embraced. Like Peter, we want to remain faithful, only to discover that our faith is lacking. We want to watch and pray with Jesus, but are soon distracted. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We are overwhelmed by our many preoccupations, unlike Jesus who surrendered his agony to the Father.

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