Fr John’s Reflection – Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday – 28th March

 How do we welcome Jesus into our hearts?

 We know the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem all too well. How cheering crowds could so easily turn into a howling mob! It is a reality we see all too often when peaceful demonstrations turn ugly when anger turns into violence and the hope of liberation turns to tyranny. There is something all too familiar with the story which seems to be played out in our own time not only in events over history. It is probably a good reality check to see where our hearts are at the beginning of Holy Week.

There can be anticipation that Lent is rapidly drawing to an end and we approach the climax of Jesus life in the Paschal Mystery. Where is it in his life, death and resurrection that we see the story of our own salvation played out? This is not just a mystery play that leaves us unmoved but a life that touches deeply into our own. Lent is not just about what we have given up but how it has prepared us to encounter the person of Jesus in the reality of our own frailty, vulnerability and sinfulness. His life is intertwined with our own as we journey towards Calvary. We know suffering, disappointment and the feelings which cause us to hide away from a God who loves us. The immanence of the person Jesus overcomes us and surprises us with grace.

Over this week we are called to accompany Jesus, not just as passive observers but as living participants who are profoundly affected by his total self-offering. The at-one-ment opens the gates to the relationship with the Father which lay at the centre of his life. This is not just a blind abandonment to fate but rather an active engagement with what lay at the heart of his life. God was prepared to offer everything of life that we may enter into eternal life. That in his death we discover a life that transforms us and breaks our own hearts with life and love. This Holy Week is not just a depressing repetition of past events or a reminder of the cost of sin on the human heart but rather a hope-filled encounter with the person who reorients our life towards God.

Fr. John Armstrong