When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’”
They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What a difference five days can make. Palm Sunday’s crowd sings “Hosanna!” But on Good Friday this same crowd will shout, “Crucify him!“ We hear two Gospels today- both the praise and the condemnation.
Like the ancient crowd, are we not as fickle as the weather? We praise God when it’s in our best interest to do so, but are quick to abandon our faith if we risk our popularity, a promotion, or public censure.
Paul, Apostle of Christ is a new movie that opened nationwide this weekend. The film makes dramatically clear how much Paul and the early Christian community lovingly suffered to witness to Christ. They are severely tested under Nero’s brutal persecution. They waver, but remain faithful.
St. Ignatius invites each of us to pray often before a crucifix asking: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, is a retreat master, writer, and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. His daily Lenten video reflections can be seen at heartoheart.org
A PRAYER FOR FIDELITY
When the wind blows strong,
Cloudy days can clear,
But clear days can cloud.
So why am I surprised when,
My heart is gripped by fear
Or stunned by a sadness
I cannot explain?
Whatever the weather,
Lord, teach me –
To be faithful, as you are faithful,
To trust you in every season of my soul,
To shout “Hosanna,” even in the lion’s den.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!