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J-P took us all on a time journey back to Jerusalem to think about Palm Sunday. For many, this was a day of celebration, of welcome to the new King, but as we look back on this day, our reactions are often tinged with sadness because we know that the celebration didn’t last long.
On that day, we see Jesus fulfilling prophecy in riding into Jerusalem on a colt – a symbol of peace and not of majesty. Jesus was welcomed as a celebrity, a king whose reputation for healing and miraculous acts was seen as being the way to victory over the Romans, but His mission was actually to serve and to save the oppressed. The crowds waved palm branches and set these and clothes in front of the colt, singing in excitement to Him. The Pharisees were not happy about this response, and we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, knowing He had come to be the sacrificial Passover Lamb and knowing they would reject Him.
As we reflect on how celebration and sorrow can co-exist in life, we are reminded nonetheless of the purpose behind Jesus’s mission, a purpose of salvation, not condemnation. (John 3:16-17) Every cloud has a silver lining, and as we enter Holy Week and reflect on both the suffering and the glory of the crucifixion and resurrection, we can use the time we have to reflect on God’s great love for us and how this love triumphs over every tragedy.