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. He expects those who believe in him to be a light in the world, sharing the Good News of salvation with others, so they might also 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, including many here in our own parish. In a way, it will be a little like Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As these people joyfully welcome Jesus into their minds, hearts and souls, the whole community will proclaim, “Alleluia!” as it was proclaimed for each one of us as 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, what we believe, and 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 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. Jesus Christ shows us how to live our life close to God, so that our faith will influence all the decisions we make. When we refuse to be faithful to Jesus Christ, and what he has revealed to us, we once again say, “crucify him.” We invite you to become more aware of Christ’s presence in your life. Find ways to encounter Christ by visiting our website, pilgrimcenterofhope.org