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Readings: Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47

Palm SundayThis solemn, holy week –
we know well the story it tells,
how it begins, how it ends –
and how it begins again.

Sunday’s script unrolls:
a green sea of palms, frenzied cries and cheers riding on its waves,
faces hungry for bread that lasts, for liberating dreams come true.
Ancient promises remembered, resurrected.
The words and deeds of this stunning preacher
led him to this moment.
The promises of this backwoods prophet
whose eyes burned through sin and shame
led to this parade of palms and dreams.

Into Jerusalem, the city of shalom,
the city that will cut him down,
Jesus rides.
Does he see what is to come?
As he sits astride the donkey, soaked in the crowd’s cries,
acclaimed as Messiah, for whom they waited all their lives,
bearing “the hopes and fears of all the years,”
does his heart leap?
Or does foreboding follow him like fog?

Where are we, this day of palms, this week of passion?
With whom do we stand in the crowd?
Cheering in the parade? Somber, apart, watching?
First in line to follow, or first to protest, “I do not know this man”?
Are we stony, stoic, unmoved?
Or drowned in tears, emotions overflowing?

This story needs a week to unfold,
from “Let glad hosannas ring”
to “Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?”
We need a week to undergo the passion of it all.
To clap and cry, to break and share,
to seek and flee, to weep and wait.
To let the Spirit carve out space in us,
in our lives, graced like his, etched with sorrow and hope.
“God is my help, I shall not be put to shame”:
Isaiah’s words, ours as well.

This week speaks:
Death will not endure.
Death is not the final word.
We ride with Jesus
into this week of signs and sighs and wonders.
May we let its truth wash over us.
Dig deep into its grace.

He lived – he lives – our days, our joys, our burdens.
For hearts heavy and laden, he makes a home.
he carves a trail through all our thorns and tears.
May his passion,
his endless, foolish, reckless, untamed love for us,
bind us fast with him
to God’s sure plan and promise:
an abundant future full of hope.

We know well this story –
how it begins, how it ends.
And how it begins again.
For Jesus, our Savior and brother.
For all of us who walk his way.

–Sr. Regina Bechtle, SC

Sr. Regina, a retreat leader, speaker, writer and spiritual director, serves as Charism Resource Director for the Sisters of Charity of New York. She gives presentations to lay and religious groups about St. Elizabeth Seton and our Vincentian-Charity heritage of spirituality.

 

Image: Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, by Harry Anderson.