Benedictine Spirituality Christ Cross Holy Week Lent Palm Sunday Prayer Scripture Uncategorized

Palm Sunday, challenges and hopes.

Photo by Syd Sujuaan on Unsplash

Palm Sunday starts out full of promise and hope as Jesus entered Jerusalem acclaimed the longed for Messiah:

“Hail, Son of David, our king and Redeemer of the world! The prophets foretold that you would come and save us.”

This promise seems a stark contrast to the passion gospel. It shows us human nature at its best and its worst. It’s full of failure and courage, despair and hope. In tense and uncertain times Jesus’ actions threaten a precarious status quo. That is always a dangerous thing to do, as the danger becomes more apparent and more threatening his disciples respond differently.

Judas tries to control the situation and force a response. Peter over promises, assuring Jesus he will never leave him, and then denies him. The other disciples numb themselves with sleep or run away when the danger becomes too much. Even Jesus, having deliberately chosen this path, has his moment of uncertainty as he prays:

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”

It’s tempting for us to assume that we would never behave in such ways. We would be the disciple who would stay loyally by Jesus’ side throughout the passion. This most challenging gospel calls us to greater honesty than that. It demands that we read it without judgement, and with compassion and honesty.

If it is to be transformative for us we have to be honest about our own failures, the times when we turn away or choose distraction over engagement, or when we give in to despair because hope seems impossible. Then, with those first flawed, brave disciples, we can call to Christ to “come and save us”.

As we begin our Holy Week where do you need to be aware of the Christ to comes to save you?

Benedictine Spirituality Gospel Holy Week Lectio Divina Lent Palm Sunday Prayer Scripture Uncategorized

Hosannas and tears

Image by Alberto Barco Figari from

Palm Sunday always raises a mixture of emotions. There’s the joy of the hosannas that ring out as Jesus entered Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient hopes that have sustained the people through the generations.

Alongside that there’s a dark undercurrent of fear and uncertainty. With hindsight we know how quickly those hosannas turn to the jeers that lead to crucifixion and death. This journey that starts out so joyfully soon brings us face-to-face with the worst that we are capable of.

This Palm Sunday I’m reflecting on Jesus’ words to the Pharisee who demands that he rebuke his disciples. He says:

“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

His words bring to mind the shattered buildings of bombed Ukrainian cities, piles of stone that cry out the suffering of broken lives and dreams. They show a very current example of the worst we are capable of, one that I thought we had moved beyond.

Yet, with the Palm Sunday hosannas still ringing in my ears I have to acknowledge that that is not the whole of their story. They also cry out of the countless acts of love and self-sacrifice that people make to help others in those intolerable circumstances.

Just as the very stones of Jerusalem recognise Jesus as Messiah, each of those acts of love, however small and unnoticed, testify to the presence of the Messiah in the midst of the darkest of circumstances today.

As we enter Holy Week where are you discovering the presence of the Messiah in the dark places of your life?