Palm Sunday - C
March 24, 2013
Luke 19:28-40 and 22:14-23:56
O God, we prayed, help us to go with you in your passion. Help us to contemplate the mighty acts which you go through this week, which give us life.
This story calls us to enter Holy Week and Passiontide as participants, not just as outside observers or curiosity seekers. We are called to participate in Christ's death and rising to life again. We can understand the story of the passion because it draws on experiences from our own lives.
Each of us is in some way one of the disciples who fall asleep even as Jesus has asked us to come pray with him. We can find ourselves in one of the twelve -- Peter, perhaps, full of bravado, or Judas, ready to betray Jesus with the best of intentions. In each of us there are chief priests and elders, righteously upholding certain inflexible standards justifying the status quo, the correct routine. There is Pilate and Barabbas and the women who anointed his body. We can even empathize with the crowd, whose part we played today. We all sang the "glory, laud and honor," and then, before many minutes were through, we shouted, "Crucify him!" and we mocked him by calling him “the Messiah of God, his chosen one.” We walk with Jesus to dark Gethsemane, we betray him, we try him and leave him hanging on the cross. We find the worst of ourselves in the story of the passion.
We can also find ourselves -- the best of ourselves -- in Christ, Christ who walks to the cross just as human being who has been betrayed or rejected, just as any human being who knows what it is to suffer and face death. The Christ within me is the part of me that knows what it means to give one’s life for something good, and who knows, that sometimes no matter how good we are, there are those who find their power in violence who will strike me down. The Christ within me believes in love nevertheless, despite of it all and because of everything that has happened. The Christ within me wants to live, has the strength to forgive, to trust, to be healed, to create, to risk building community in a world that wants to tear all those good things down.
This is where the stories of our lives meet the story of Jesus, where what is good in us has been redeemed by the events of this week. Let us follow this story this week for what it truly is: the story of our lives, the story of the redemption of the world, the story of the good news that all the bad things we do, all the people we betray and the deaths we die are ultimately put into place by the triumph of good over evil, of love over betrayal, of community over loneliness, of life over death.