I wonder if this sounds familiar to you…
We were travelling by car, and I was trying to get our passenger to appreciate our native countryside. However, after a quick look out of the car window, the passenger continued to scroll on a mobile phone. Or how about this one; “Just listen to this beautiful piece of music I have discovered”, I said. After little more than 10 seconds the monologue recommenced!
C S Lewis talks about ‘The Secret Thread’ that common quality that makes you love something, though you cannot put it into words; but most of your friends cannot see it at all. They are looking at the same thing that you are looking at but there is a gulf between what you are seeing and what they see.
I think there is a parallel between the examples above and the events recorded in the gospel reading for today, Palm Sunday. I am sure we are all very familiar with the images portrayed in our icons, that accompany the gospel accounts of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem (John 12: 1-18). Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey (v 14-15), How the crowds, ‘when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! [which literally means “Save us, Lord!”], ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ’The King of Israel!””. These people are they who had seen, or heard, how Jesus had called Lazarus from out of his tomb (v 17-18).
“Save us, Lord!”, for years the people had been languishing under the yoke of Roman occupation, soldiers everywhere, constant threats of violence and heavy taxes. They were tired weary and wanting their freedom! And here, on a “red carpet” of Palm branches rides Jesus, the liberator, the man who could raise up an army and free the people! The freedom that is obtained with spears, swords and bloodshed. The crowd believed that they were on the threshold of a great battle that would change everything.
As with the examples I gave earlier, the people just could not see the ‘Secret Thread’ the true beauty that linked all that they had seen and heard. Yes, Jesus would free people. Yes, Jesus was going into battle, but not to fight flesh and blood. The people were looking and not seeing, hearing but not listening.
We have each endeavoured, in whatever way we can, to make a Lenten effort. And we may well feel tempted at this time.; tempted by hunger, tempted by sloth and a reluctance to go to church, to stand in prayer, tempted to gratify ourselves with worldly delights. We may even feel tempted in the same way that those who cheered Jesus felt tempted; tempted to demand our freedom from everything and everyone that we feel oppresses us!
As our Lord rides into Jerusalem, he faces temptation as never before – the crowds cheering him and begging for him to lead them into battle against the Roman occupying forces. But He is not that kind of leader. He is no earthly King. He is the heavenly King. The like of which the world has never known. A humble king, crowned with thorns, spat on and mocked, enthroned on a cross. This is the victory of Palm Sunday! The humble king who rides into Jerusalem, tempted in every way, keeps his eyes fixed on the Cross that stands before him.
In the same way that the heavenly King entered into Jerusalem, today, Christ prepares to enter our hearts. To enter, if invited, and to fill us with his power, his strength, his love to give us the victory and freedom we long for; to invite us to follow him and to lay down our lives as he did: for our brothers and sisters, our neighbour even our enemies.
Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together,
and we all take up Thy Cross and say:
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest.
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others