Since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works. Today we begin the celebration of the Lord's Paschal Mystery. On this Palm Sunday, we remember his triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the feast, the chaos and frenzy of the crowd and the joyful exultation and praise of the faithful. And we remember how quickly the tone changed, with the voices of praise giving way to the cries for his life. How fickle we are. How in tune with the times and current mood rather than being rooted in revealed truth.
Some of the Pharisees told him to rebuke his followers for proclaiming: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest." These were words upsetting to the political status quo and to accepted religious sensibilities. Better they be quiet, and safe.
But in one of my favorite lines, Jesus said in reply, "I tell you, if they be silent, the stones will cry out!" There is no chaining the Word of God. There is no denying the truth. There is no prudent embrace of the message of salvation found in the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. It is all out, or nothing. It is full throated and not whispered. It is totally life changing and transforming. All of creation sings his praise. And by our prayers and journey this week that we call HOLY, we sing his praise!
And so we have begun ...
Before Mass this morning a young lad came in with his family, came up to me and asked: "Why are you wearing red today?" I told him that it was the color of the day, that we have a book that tells us what color to wear, and that today was red because it was Palm Sunday. He quickly and loudly said: "Oh yah ... I forgot ... that's the day that Jesus came into the city before dying on the cross for us. I remember now. I read my bible stories, Father, and I remember this one." We all smiled and I thanked him for reminding us of why we are here ... and I thanked his mom and dad for their good work. It was a great way to begin the liturgy.