“Hosanna to the Son of David…” (Matthew 21:9)
“Let him be crucified.” (Matthew 27:22)
How easy we are led astray by the world. The crowd that shouted the praises of Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday would soon be shouting that he be executed. We are very quick to shout Jesus’ praises, but when we are tempted by the lures of the Evil One and of this world, we turn just as quickly on the Lord and join in the cries for him to be crucified. This morning in his homily Pope Francis asked: “Who am I before the Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I keep a distance? Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?”
Maybe we do praise him at a distance to not get fully immersed in the challenges of living a Christian life. Maybe we only praise him when he is in triumph and turn our backs when he suffers. Do we not realize that Jesus achieves the ultimate triumph on the cross? It is there on that wood that he is exalted above all as we hear in the second reading: “Because [of his death on the cross] God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every other name (Philippians 2:9).” How distant are we from Jesus? Will we walk in his footsteps during Holy Week and praise his name along the way for what he did for us? Or will we be swept up with the rest of the world and keep a distance from our Lord? As I say every year: don’t let this week be like any other. Make this week HOLY!