Toward Jerusalem

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment



Toward Jerusalem
Mt 26:14 – 27:66

We disciples of Christ profess to follow the Lord Jesus– and this week in particular, we would follow Him to Jerusalem. This is to the Temple, the place of His Father, but also to a place spilling over in opposition to Him and His teaching.

The first pushback is from the religious authorities who have been irritated by the company He keeps– sinners, Samaritans, poor widows, fishermen, disgraced women, and the like. They charge that his attention has been spread over too wide an audience, toward too many outside the certified boundaries. Also, the Roman civil authority has begun to suspect him as a threat, even a possible revolutionary.

And so arises the Palm Sunday question: can we follow behind Him both to those places filled with His Father’s presence, but also to places simmering with rejection of His view of the world?

“Filled with His Father’s presence.” This is the grace in the surrounding world which in so many ways breathes God’s nearness. In things like the self-sacrificing love of a woman who has left a career to be full-time caregiver to her aging father, like the subtle beauty of a newly blooming cherry tree, and certainly things like the experience of Sunday worshipers when they gather to hear God’s Word and share the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus.

Then there are those resistance forces facing those who walk behind the Lord which rise up from values and attitudes contrary to life in His Father’s Kingdom. Such things as neglect of and even hostility toward people on the margins; i.e., God’s special ones, the poor. And then religious practices that don’t go deeper, which are more for show than for full-hearted contact with God. These and other foundational disagreements are held against Jesus, and in turn leveled against those in every age who would follow Him.

Stretching out before us in this time is what might be envisioned as the Palm Sunday Road. It looks to Jesus walking just ahead as He both opens us to the presence of His Father and as He stands against whatever would slow the coming of His Father’s Reign.

As disciples we propose once again to set out on that road. We would step into the footprints of this Jesus, who in His Holy Spirit is God-with-us and within us, and who as our hope is God just out ahead of us, leading us into His Kingdom.

Looking back, St. Louise notes a Palm Sunday thread running through her life:

God, who has granted me so many graces, led me to understand that it was his holy will that I go to Him by Way of the cross. His goodness chose to mark me with it from my birth and He has hardly ever left me, at any age, without some occasion of suffering.
(Spiritual Writings, p. 711)

1 Comment

  1. Paule Freeburg

    Tom, this is so challenging! Thank you for inviting us to go deeper this Holy Week.
    You are a gift to the Family!