The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ (Matthew 21:9 NRSV).
Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’(Matthew 27:22,23 NRSV).
Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday is the most vivid display of the fickleness of the human heart ever put into writing. The cheerful greetings of the crowds crying out to Jesus on Palm Sunday with “Hosanna in the highest” becomes the shouting of “Let him be crucified” on Good Friday. “Welcome Jesus on Palm Sunday.” “Kill Him on Good Friday.”
If we are all bluntly honest with ourselves, we must admit that our hearts today are just as fickle. We say we want God’s peace and salvation in our lives, but, we brush God aside by many of the choices we make. We say we want to love God from our hearts, but we quickly turn that love away when we allow our hearts to hold grudges or say unkind things to someone in our family or otherwise. The more we learn, the more we have yet to learn.
The greatest news and mystery of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter Day, is that our God in Jesus Christ comes to be with us and love us, regardless of how fickle our hearts are. Jesus shows us God’s unconditional love as Jesus experiences the most generous welcome and the worst of our worst. Our worst is no match for the powerful love of God who gave His only Son to be “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8 NRSV).
The greatest mystery to spend some time in Lectio Divina and Contemplation during Holy Week is that God loves each of us so very madly and deeply. God knows that there is a lot of good in our hearts and God wants redeems us to reclaim that goodness in and through the Paschal Mystery. God gave us Jesus to know that God walks with us in our moments of great celebration and gladness; and when we mess things up as badly as we possibly can. In Jesus, God shows us that it is possible for us to let go. As St. Benedict wrote in Chapter 4 vs. 74 of The Rule “And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy.” (RB: 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English, p.185).
Are you open to the Presence of Jesus in your own fickle heart?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB