Yet, how quickly the crowd changed and turned on Jesus. The same people who were happy to welcome him with shouts of joy, will soon begin to shout ‘Crucify him, Crucify him.’ Jesus is even betrayed and denied by his closet friends. The rest of them run and desert him. He is left alone.
There is a real danger that we can get up and lost in getting the liturgy of Palm Sunday and indeed the whole of Holy week just right. If we are not careful we can lose sight of what we remembering, celebrating and taking part in. As well as celebrating this great week with dignity and reverence, we also need to ask ourselves what it is all about and what it means to each to us.
Where am I in the unfolding drama that begins on Palm Sunday and plays out over Holy Week and which climaxes on Easter? Where am I as Jesus passes by on the donkey? Am I one of the crowd shouting out his name? Am I like Judas in any way? When have I betrayed others or Jesus? When like Peter, have I denied knowing Jesus? Am I like Pilate when I judge and condemn others? How am I like Simon or Veronica who help Jesus in his time of need? Having stood with the crowd shouting out his name and welcoming Jesus, will I stand with the same people spitting out insults as I shout ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’
As we celebrate Palm Sunday and begin our journey through Holy Week, we are called to ask ourselves who and where we are in the crowd. This is a week to pray and then decide what kind of followers of Christ we are and are going to be.
During this busy week of prayer, liturgies and ceremonies, let us not lose sight of what we are remembering, celebrating and talking part in.
As we begin this most holy of weeks, may Jesus be our constant companion. May we enter in the mystery of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection with faith and hope.