Palm Sunday and Holy Week have always been a time of mixed emotions for me. It begins as a joyful celebration of singing and dancing as Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem. Suddenly the scene turns into a tragic time of sorrow as He suffers at the hands of his own people.
Great crowds welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem, waving palm branches and cheering. Even if they did not really know Him, they were nevertheless affected by his presence. They wanted to participate in the joy.
We can relate to this because isn’t this the way we feel during fiesta time? Even though we may not know the candidates for “reyna,” when the parade passes by we want to cheer, clap our hands, and join the festivities. And, of course, we look forward to the feasting that follows.
Then the Palm Sunday joy sours as within a few days the Passion sorrows unfold: the solemn-ness of the Passover, the betrayal of Jesus in the garden, His scourging at the pillar, His being crowned with thorns and then stumbling along the Way of the Cross to the site of His crucifixion. The crowds of people now shout condemnation and violence. Others hide behind the crowds, crouching in doorways, trying to be invisible, but still curious as to what is happening.
In my Holy Week reflections I ask myself: Where am I during each happening? Am I playing an active part, or am I hiding behind and watching to see what happens next? Why am I there anyway? How do I feel as I see Jesus passing by each day of Holy Week? I wonder how did Jesus feel as the days passed and His suffering worsened?
We all have good intentions to remain faithful to someone we love. When they are happy and joyful, we celebrate with them. When we get hurt or when someone we love gets hurt, we want to retaliate either physically or verbally or all of the above at the same time. When we are experiencing difficulty, betrayal, and unhappiness, we often feel abandoned and lonely. We want someone to talk to, to empathize with us, to comfort us, to give us a smile and a hug.
Each one of us has experienced personally his/her own versions of the Holy Week sequence of events, I am sure. I believe God allows these happenings to help us, sometimes to force us, to become better persons, to strengthen our faith in Him and in others, and to nurture our hearts into growing more like Jesus.
After Good Friday comes a time of sorrowful silence followed by the joys of Easter! If I keep Jesus as the example of how God wants me to respond to the challenges, trials and difficulties I meet in life, I have faith, I believe, and I anticipate that as time passes, all these shall pass and I shall rise to again celebrate life with a revived, renewed and joyful heart.