Palm Sunday is the day that starts the greatest of all roller coasters. From triumph to tragedy to triumph. It was a roller coaster for us but always a straight line for God.
These are the mysteries we enter into with trepidation because it's really scary to go this deep.
We thought He came to save us- and He did- but we didn't understand what He came to save us from and we certainly didn't understand how He intended to do it. So, we rebelled against His salvation and committed the greatest evil ever perpetrated- the murder of God.
How did God respond to this unthinkable malice? Did He smite us with a firestorm that erased us from the face of the earth? He certainly could have.
What defense could we have made for ourselves of these atrocities?
The drama of passion week plays out the drama of our lives. It is not a clumsy metaphor; it is an exact fit because our crimes reach back through time.
He felt the sting of my sins in the scourging. It was I who spat on Him and punched Him in the face when I dared to rebel and display ingratitude for the miraculous graces He has showered on me.
Isn't it a picture of us? Today we are laying down palm fronds at His feet and crying out "Hosanna!" to this king. 5 days later, we are crying out "Crucify Him!" and calling down the blood guilt on ourselves and our children by our words and actions.
Yes, we were in that crowd. We were Barabbas whose place He took. We are Dismas, who He promises paradise if we bear the cross. This week is so deep and profound it takes 6 weeks to prepare for it.
In this week is the answer to those questions detractors try to stump us with. Why does God allow evil in the world? Why does God allow suffering in the world? This is why.
Just attempt to fathom that God used our rebellion, our malice, our infinite insolence and ingratitude to save us. By His wounds- that we inflicted- He healed us of our own wounds that we have self-inflicted.
Saint Longingus (image from catholic.org) is the traditional name given to the centurian whose blindness was cured by the very blood and water he caused to flow by jamming a spear into the side of our blessed Lord.
In heaven, He will look upon with love at the gash he caused, by which He was-himself- saved.
We hope that fills you with awe but if it only fills you with awe then we have failed.
Palm Sunday is the dawn of a people longing to be saved. The bitterness that followed came from our lack of faith not from a lack of fidelity by God to that promise.
While faith seeks the salvation and deliverance of God, it does not fail to see that God always delivers in ways we don't expect and often in ways that seem absurd to human reasoning.
We will appreciate this more when we get to heaven and see God's true majesty. Only then will we truly understand how big Our God is and the gall we had in ever daring to offend Him.
When the people cried out "Hosanna to the King", they spoke the truth but how quickly did they change their words to "We have no king but Caesar".
While bowing and submitting to Caesar, we nailed God to a cross! We gave to Caesar what belonged to God and gave to God what we deserved ourselves.
From the cross, He gave us His Mother as an advocate in John 19 and from the tomb, He gave us victory over death, and He gave us hope.
This should bring you to tears; first, of sorrow and repentance, second, of joy and elation.
Hosanna to the King! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!