Palm Sunday is a hurricane. We start triumphantly, waving palms, watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem. He’s riding on a donkey, which isn’t the most dignified steed, but there are hosannas and people throwing cloaks on the ground and welcoming him in as a king. All is sunny and good and right in the world.
Fast forward a few readings, and things are markedly different. Jesus isn’t on a donkey, he’s lying on the ground in Gethsemane. He’s being mocked and spit upon. He’s being nailed, literally, to a piece of wood. He’s hurting. Desperate. Dying.
There’s a little bit of falling action; he’s placed in a tomb. There’s a paragraph or so to catch your breath, but then what? Then you’re just supposed to go on with your day? The pressure change from the beginning to the end is enough to mess with anyone’s weather pattern.
So how do you treat the rest of Palm Sunday? Do you remain hunkered down, listening to the wail of the wind on your walls? It’s Holy Week now, so we have to go through all this again on Good Friday… it’s tempting to keep the plywood on the windows, blocking out the light, eating canned food and suffering until the All-Clear is sounded.
But right now, it’s calm; it’s winds have died down. Can we spend the afternoon celebrating, focusing on the triumph? Because, really, it’s not trauma punctuated by a brief period of joy—it’s the other way around. The trauma of Holy Week is the eye of the storm, the violent but temporary squall in the middle. Triumph streams in on both sides of the Triduum… so let’s savor the sun while it’s here.
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