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Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! (Mark 11:9)
When artists talk about contrast, they’re referring to the arrangement of opposite elements—light versus dark, small versus large, rough versus smooth. It’s a technique they use to add a dramatic effect to their work. If we thought of God as an artist, we would definitely say that Palm Sunday is a study in contrasts. God created the universe out of nothing, fashioned the stars and planets, sustains every living thing, and knows every hair on our heads. Yet this same awesome, all-powerful God chose to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. You can’t have a more dramatic contrast than that. Or can you?
That Jesus, our King, came to his people riding a lowly pack animal is a huge contrast. But even more dramatic is the fact that he was crowned with thorns and not with gold, and beaten rather than worshipped. Or that he, who would judge heaven and earth, was judged and condemned the very people he created.
Jesus went through all the pain and humiliation of the cross so that we could be reconciled with God. He who is Life itself embraced death so that we could receive eternal life.
Keep this in mind during Mass today. During the Holy, Holy, remember the citizens of Jerusalem who spread out their cloaks and waved palm branches at Jesus. Like you, they called out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” But just a few days later, they joined the Sanhedrin in calling out, “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:14). And through it all, through all the contrasts and ups and downs that he faced, Jesus continued to love. He continued to forgive. He never forgot his mission to save us all.
So when you say these words, do it with all the conviction you can muster. Praise the Lord for coming so humbly. And tell him you don’t want any more contrasts in your life!
“Lord, thank you for coming to us so humbly! Teach me to follow your example of self-sacrifice and compassion.”
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
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