Today is Palm Sunday, the day we remember how Jesus was gloriously received as he entered Jerusalem amidst the shouts of “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” It was the only time that Jesus was received with great jubilation by the crowds as he entered Jerusalem. However, we have just read the “Passion of Christ,” and we know that these same people who shouted Hosanna will also shout “crucify him.”
Today, during the reading of the Passion we also shouted “crucify him” and it is fitting that we did. It was our sins also that he bore on the way to Golgotha. He carried the weight of the sin of all humanity for all time with him to his death. He died for my sins and for yours so that we might be saved from eternal death. Even though he died for all humanity, all humanity will not receive the same benefit from his death. He himself has told us the condition of discipleship, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow after me” (Mk 8:34). We can’t just live for ourselves. He has entrusted his plan of salvation to his Church, expecting those who believe in him to be a light in the world, sharing the Good News of salvation with others so that they might believe in him and their lives be transformed by his grace. We each have a free will and we each must make the choice to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Next weekend during the Easter Vigil there will be thousands of people received in the Church throughout the world In a way, it will be a little like Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as these people joyfully welcoming Jesus into their minds, hearts and souls, and the whole community will proclaim Alleluia as it was proclaimed for each one of us when we were baptized. During the Easter liturgy we all will renew our baptismal vows together as a reminder of what Christ has done for us and of our need to put our total faith in him.
The reading of Christ’s Passion today reminds us that our baptism is not only about the joy of welcoming Jesus Christ. It is about a lifetime of believing in him, trusting in him and being faithful to what he has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church. Our purpose in this life is to know, love and serve God so that we can be happy now and forever. When we refuse to be faithful to Jesus Christ, we once again say, “crucify him.” But Jesus shows us how to live our life close to God so that our faith will influence all the decisions we make.