Today is Palm Sunday and Churches in every corner of the globe will be full of worshipers thinking about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of that colt and being heralded and praised by a multitude of followers.
Churches here in the Eastern Time Zone are starting to fill with folks of all ages, with families dressed in their “Sunday best”, ready to commemorate and relive that ride and that day.
When this celebration comes each year, we see ourselves as a follower of the Master, as one who may have been there for the actual event.
This is as it should be.
But what was it like for Jesus?
What thoughts were going through his mind as that day unfolded?
None of us knows the particulars, of course, but there’s little doubt in my mind that destiny — or his thoughts around it — cast a long shadow over the events of that day, over what has been known for centuries as the Triumphal Entry.
As we go through all the events of Holy Week, it’s a good thing to keep in mind that the thanks and accolades that others may bestow on us from time to time can be wonderful.
But for most of us — as was true for Jesus — those accolades don’t always last and our lives will most likely not be a joyous and unending festival of gratitude and praise.
For some, a darker destiny may await.
Jesus said that no servant is greater than his master and when one makes a conscious choice to follow in Jesus’s footsteps — to live a life of service for others — there will most certainly be a cross to bear.
It’s certainly true that most people go through life acting mostly on instinct. Mostly doing what furthers their own interests and — at the end of the day — maximizes the chance that they’ll live, thrive and survive, as that saying goes.
Jesus, of course, is our ultimate example of a person who saw himself in a very different way. And he knew that his destiny was a life lived for others.
May we follow his example. May we always remember that, first and foremost, we choose a life lived — not for selfish reasons alone — but for others.
And may that be our focus throughout the events of Holy Week. And always.
© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.
This homily was originally published on April 14, 2019