April 14, 2014
“We have heard the Passion of the Lord. We will do well to pose just a single question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before Jesus who enters into Jerusalem? Am I capable of expressing my joy, of praising him? Or do I distance myself from him? Who am I before Jesus who suffers?”
Pope Francis’ Homily on Palm Sunday
This is no ordinary Monday.
Yesterday we experienced the wonder of Palm Sunday; of palm branches waving in the air and soon after, the cries of “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Indeed a solemn day of mixed emotions and the beginning of a week of reflection and preparation for the Triduum.
Last night I read the Holy Father’s homily for Palm Sunday. It is reported that the Holy Father went “off the cuff” by not reading a prepared homily, instead preaching something different. His words obviously resonated with the people, as quotes like the one above are surfacing in different venues.
And so, we reflect on these words.
Who am I before Jesus who enters into Jerusalem?
Who am I before Jesus who suffers?
The rest of the homily lists the various people in the shadows of the Gospel of the Passion. The average person in the crowd, the Pharisees, Judas, one of the disciples, the two Marys, Pilate, the soldiers, the women who accompanied Mary and the list goes on. Many people watching, some silently, some not. Some coming forward, like Simon to help Christ with the cross, and others blending into the crowd.
Who am I?
Am I the person who makes the effort to make this Holy Week a spiritual, reflective time for myself? Do I take advantage of the opportunities offered at my parish or surrounding parishes? Do I make time for prayer with my family this week?
Do I hide myself from the pain of the Passion, and focus only on the Resurrection, or can I view these as all part of the same Paschal Mystery we celebrate on Sunday? Holy Week is just the time to look at all the pieces, day by day, of Jesus’ experiences and reflect on each and every one. From the high of Palm Sunday, to the lowest point at Jesus’ death, and finally to the amazement of the Resurrection, each day carries with it a unique opportunity to reflect on the role I play in these events. Retelling and remembering these events doesn’t mean just telling the story of Jesus, but also bringing it to my current life.
How do I prepare for the Resurrection? Is my focus solely on planning meals and dying Easter eggs, or is there time for prayer within these activities? Like Christmas, we can sometimes focus so much on the actions and preparation; we forget the meaning of the celebration. How can I bring prayer and worship to the actions of preparing an Easter meal or dying those eggs?
Who am I?
May we spend each day this week in reflection and prayer in preparation of the days ahead. May the Spirit infuse these days with peace, joy, and a loving heart.