|The liturgy on Palm Sunday begins with Jesus’ joyous entrance into Jerusalem and ends with him dying on the cross, alone except for a group of faithful women looking on from a distance. In between, Jesus’ closest disciples fell asleep three times as they prayed with him in Gethsemane, Judas betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver, Peter denied him repeatedly when questioned and Pilate yielded to an unruly crowd and ordered that Jesus be crucified.
How did we get from the enthusiastic celebration of Palm Sunday to the rejection, suffering and death of Good Friday? The crowds enjoyed the moment but lacked depth of conviction. The hearts of Jesus disciples were in the right place but they fled in fear. Judas betrayed Jesus for financial gain, while Peter followed Jesus until he thought that he might share his fate. Pilate, unnerved by the crowd, disavowed his responsibility and turned his back on the violence of the people and his soldiers.
As we reflect on our own discipleship, undoubtedly we can identify with the doubts, fears, weaknesses and betrayals of the various actors in today’s readings. However, knowing how much we are loved by Jesus who entered so completely into our human condition, let us pray for the courage of those women who faithfully stood with him in his suffering and death; and like Jesus, let us pray that we will be given the courage we need to give ourselves in faithful love to those with whom we are called to walk on our shared journey of Faith.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.