O Jerusalem…

It’s Palm Sunday.

Tissot, Christ's Procession into Jerusalem

It’s the day we commemorate Christ’s “joyful” entry into Jerusalem. This day he fulfills the prophecy and enters not only Jerusalem but the walk to his Passion.

It’s an odd day; joyful and hard too. It’s the day I face my not so hidden inner hypocrite, every year. That’s always uncomfortable, like getting snared in brambles. But these are of my own selfish thorns. It’s the day that we ALL enter into Holy Week. Lent is refined and the chaff of it burned off…into the high holy days of the year, the silent clanging shuffle of the Via Dolorosa.

Tissot, Christ's entry to Jerusalem

But, look more closely at that painting just above. See there, under Christ’s feet? Those heads don’t look so joyous, so awestruck. They are not waving to get his attention or autograph…there is an undercurrent of malevolence. And that, right there, is what Christ was really approaching. He knew it. We do too.

So, this morning, what sticks in my head are his words from that moment, right before he entered Jerusalem and kickstarted the week of his passion:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

So, as I stand in Mass this morning, juggling my palm and the palm swords of my distracted little boys….as I choke out the words of the gospel, “crucify him,” I will remember that he just wanted to gather us in. And we would not.

Have a blessed Holy Week….it begins…