It’s also called “Passion Sunday” because we hear the entire story of Jesus’s last days of life leading up to his shedding his Precious Blood on the cross to forgive our sins and give us eternal life. But we will be experiencing that story next Friday.
So this morning let’s look at the Palm part. It’s called the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. After preaching and teaching and healing and miracling for 3 straight years, Jesus is going into Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. By this time, everyone in Judea has heard about this wandering prophet, his incredible words of compassion and his mighty deeds of power, so you could say he’s kind of a big deal.
Blessed is Cheese who comes in the name of the lord
The crowd is so excited, that they grab leafy branches off the only trees they’ve got, palm trees, and start waving them around. Back in the day, they didn’t have laser light shows, they had to use tree parts for entertainment. But if you can imagine thousands of people waving big branches of greenery, it’s gonna look like a sports game where the crowd is all twirling towels or waving pool noodles or spinning live octopi or something.
And as for the audio, this crowd is yelling and chanting, “Lasagna! Lasagna in the highest-” Wait, what? Hosanna, really?!? OK. My 7-year-old says the word is Hosanna, which doesn’t make any sense to me because it’s a Hebrew shout of joy that doesn’t translate into English.
Jesus isn’t even stirring these people up. He’s riding a donkey. That’s like riding a tricycle down Santa Monica Boulevard. Or Justine Bieber driving a Fiat with a broken door handle.
But the crowd still loves him. They are hyped. They are chiseling stone selfies, they are stripping off their clothes for his donkey to ride on, they are violating city noise bylaws.
It makes for a showdown. The Jewish leaders know all it takes is for one schmuck to yell “King!” and the Roman soldiers will have no second thoughts about slaughtering the crowd. One day later on, they do just that.
So the Jewish leaders tell Jesus to cool the crowd down. But Jesus respects the crowd’s freedom, and claims all of creation is recognizing what’s going on here: “If they become quiet, the very stones will shout.”
They love him. They really, really love him.
For a week. In a matter of days, the very same crowd who blessed he who came in the name of the Lord were shouting for his brutal and torturous death. Pilate asked, what should I do with this guy you loved so much last week?” and they shouted, “Crucify him!”
Hmm. There’s wisdom here.
The second wisdom has to do with our place in the mob. Do we follow Jesus only when it feels good, when it seems kinda cool? When he shows us that respecting freedom and unconditional compassion leads to getting beat up and rejected, do we suddenly find ourselves mocking him, denying him, trying to kill him out of our lives? It’s the ultimate hard truth of Christianity – we have all called for the Creator’s Son to just get out of our lives, because we don’t like the look of him.
What does Jesus do in his resurrection? He returns to those who abandoned him. He returns to us. He has transformed the violence of our rejection of him into greater love for us.
Lasagna! Lasagna! Lasagna in the highest!!!
Let us pray +
Almighty and everliving God,
in your tender love for the human race
you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ
to take upon him our nature,
and to suffer death upon the cross,
giving us the example of his great humility:
Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering,
and also share in his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
St. Kateri, pray for us +