It’s Palm Sunday again.
For today, I wanted to share this picture, by James Tissot, of Jesus being led into into Jerusalem. Everyone is happy and celebrating. Palms are being carried, people lean over to touch Jesus, people watch from afar on balconies to see Jesus pass, and boys clap and cry Hosanna. It is a celebration in which everybody is taking part in!
And I want you to contrast with this picture of Jesus, also by James Tissot.
Once again, Jesus is being led into Jerusalem. Some boys hold the palms that they held a week ago for Palm Sunday. People lean over to reach for Jesus. Some people watch Jesus from the distance in balconies.
But things are different. Very different.
In the second picture, Jesus is being led to Pilate, who will issue the order to crucify Him.
The crowd, which was so very ready to celebrate Him when He entered Jerusalem was quick to betray Him only a week later when they found out that He wouldn’t do what they wanted Him to do — which was to rise up and take away the bad things in their lives through His Power.
And I have to think… doesn’t that sound like us?
Don’t we tend to throw Jesus out of our lives when things get hard?
Don’t we tend to reject Him when He doesn’t come in the way we want Him to come?
These are some hard times. Really hard times. And we don’t even have the physical presence of our parishes to comfort us as the world seems to be falling apart around us. And it is so very, very tempting to want Jesus Christ to act in the way we want Him to act.
In short, we want to lead Him to us.
But there lies the mistake: He never left us. He is still with us. He knows what it means to suffer, and He was not afraid to suffer with us.
He is still here with us!
And He wants to lead us — and help us! — through our difficulties and trials, if only we’d let Him. And He promises to be a light to us, even when things get darkest.
This Palm Sunday, may we look to Jesus Christ and let Him lead us through this dark valley of death. Because — as we already know — with Jesus, death has been destroyed.