Today’s Eucharist begins with great joy with palm branches in hand, we sing victorious hymns to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Like the crowds, we too welcome and rejoice in his reign. Similar to the disciples, we are also excited and filled with wonderful expectations.
However, when we listen to the passion of Jesus Christ, the mood of the crowds as well as that of the disciples changes swiftly. The crowds are fickle, cheering for Jesus one day and shouting “crucify him” the next day.
Even many of his closest friends and followers sheepishly denied their knowledge of and association with him, and in cowardly fashion, abandoned him out of fear for their own safety.
Jesus, on the other hand, is resolved to faithfully carry out his mission; the proclamation of the advent of the Reign of God and of God’s lavish love and forgiveness poured out for each one of us, and for the earth itself…”for God so loved the world”.
Through the suffering and death of Jesus we have been saved, forgiven our sins and guilt put as far from us “as the East is from the West”!
We may wonder at times if God really loves us…and just how much. Today we are reminded how much as Christ spread his arms wide upon the cross -- this is how much we are loved by God!
How do I live out my identity as the “beloved of God”? How can I share this message of God’s love and forgiveness with others?
To whom am I being called to open wide my arms to embrace them in the midst of their need? Who are being crucified today… the people of Ukraine, Ethiopia, Sudan and Afghanistan, the millions of refugees…people crucified because of the color of their skin, people crucified for their immigration status, for who they love, what language they speak, for what part of the world or country they were born in, for their age, their gender, their intellectual or physical abilities?
As I enter this Holy Week, whose burdens will I help to shoulder to the foot of cross as I journey with Jesus this week, and meditate upon the gift of love and forgiveness which he has so lavishly poured upon me, and upon all of humanity?