“His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done in him.” (John 12:16)
Beloved, today we begin a second Holy Week in COVID-19 pandemic time. We have prayed for God’s merciful assistance to enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts whereby we have been given life and immortality. (cf. The Book of Common Prayer p. 270) We pray as we do on every Lord’s Day for the showing forth of the Lord Jesus’s death until he comes among us again in glory. (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26) As disciples in ages past have beheld in awe God’s ‘tender mercy love for the human race’ (BCP p. 219) in Jesus’s suffering and cross, so we do this Palm Sunday.
We continue at present separated in longing by disease and death, grief and loss, fear and uncertainty. Yet we join in hope with those who went out of the holy city of Jerusalem to greet the humble Savior. We raise our cries, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Together we hail Jesus, the Victor over death and evil, present among us now. Our pilgrimage through suffering is in company with that of God’s beloved Son, Jesus. Though scattered and terrified we are being healed, saved, and the whole world transformed and renewed by his glorious cross and resurrection.
Each taking up our cross, whatever our present circumstances, we will be supported and strengthened by the grace of our re-birth in Holy Baptism. Together sealed and anointed by the Holy Spirit, we have been given power to become children of God. Mystically united with Christ we are daily dying to the false self and are wounded co-workers with Jesus, the one who came as a Servant, giving his life for all.
Even now in the midst of daily trials, our entire being—body, mind and spirit—is being raised by Christ, who lives in us and for us. Resurrection to the fulness of eternal life has already begun in our mortal selves. As we follow Jesus in suffering and servanthood, we pass with him through the shameful cross into Christ’s own glory and into the heart of God. The glory for which we were created in Christ by the loving Father is already manifest in us through our sacramental and very real union with Jesus. Though at present longing for full common participation in the Eucharistic feast, we are being fed with his flesh and blood as we live our baptismal faith in hope of what is yet to be.
Therefore “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion”, your King and brother lives within you still. He is gathering us as holy siblings into the bosom of the Father. It has been a year in which God’s world has known ‘the sadness of misery and death’. (cf. John J. Lydon, O.S.A.) Yet the world has also seen the light of holiness shining forth in the many who have found grace to join Christ in acts of humble service and self-offering for the sake of others. We behold Jesus as truly the Son of God, through sacred remembrance, contemplating the manner of his sacrificial death on the cross. We are becoming children of God as we embrace the way of the cross, our only way of true life, joy and peace. Amen.
Lectionary Year and Proper: Year B
Solemnity or Major Feast Day: Passion/Palm Sunday
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