Pondering for Sunday, April 2, 2023

Eucahristic Readings for Palm Sunday: Year A

Matthew 21:1-11  Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29  The Liturgy of the Word  Isaiah 50:4-9a  Psalm 31:9-16;  Philippians 2:5-11  Matthew 26:14- 27:66

“Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.” (Matthew 26:23)

What a shift from four days ago.  As Jesus entered Jerusalem four days ago people were hailing him King of kings and Lord of lords.  And now, at one of Christianity’s most important sacraments, Holy Communion, at the table, our Lord Jesus says, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.”  And Judas will do this dirty deed with a kiss later after supper and after our Lord Jesus attends prayer three times. 

We truly are a fickle breed.  Too many of us tend to go the way of the loudest rhetoric.  There is not enough personal thinking and praying happening in our lives. Again, I go back to Blaise Pascal’s quote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”  Judas’s hand went to places that his heart didn’t lead him.

All of us have personal responsibility for how we go forward.  Most of the time in the Bible, when a crowd makes a decision, it’s the wrong decision.  I have a poster of an old monk walking alone down a road and the caption, by Diane Grant reads, “It is better to walk alone, than with a crowd going in the wrong direction”. We each should carefully think about each next step we take.  Be hesitant about loud rhetoric. Listen for the Spirit of God and celebrate the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of lords.

Today is Palm Sunday (Celebratory); and Passion Sunday (Grief).  Should we be both? If not, which one are you?

The philosopher John Mills said “people seek pleasure in the absence of pain.”  We naturally want to be celebratory. But situations for grief happens.  Death, particularly unexpected death will cause us grief. None of us should live in such a way as to intentionally cause grief for others, especially the death of another except in cases of self-defense. Let us seek pleasure but understand that unpleasantness happens from time to time.

What happened to our Lord Jesus was the result of us going down the road in the wrong direction. Even if this was a divine plan, as a thinking and compassionate and loving people, we should make it very difficult, even for God to do this. Today we can still see the lack of love and compassion in some.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine and Russia and our schools.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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