|“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
The readings this Sunday call us to ponder what role the crowds had, and what role we would have taken, in the events during the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. The Gospel passage from Mark (MK 11: 1-10) read during the procession of palms conveys the passion of the crowds as they welcomed Jesus with “Hosannas.” “Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!”
Yet, where were these people, where was their passion, when Jesus was walking the streets and carrying the cross on the way to his execution? What kept people away? What kept them from not responding to the brutality done to another human being?
Was it the fear of being associated with the One who spoke truth to the “power” of the day? The Gospel account of the passion of Jesus tells of how fear paralyzed Peter. Peter did what he felt was necessary to protect himself: he denied knowing Jesus. How do we respond when we hear that followers of Jesus today are being singled out for their faith and brutally killed? Do we wish to deny the nonviolence of Jesus, to support the “power” of the day, and to respond with more brutal violence?
Or was it apathy that kept people from showing up? Was it indifference that kept people from protesting the violence to another human being? As Pope Francis stated in his Lenten Message, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians.”
Our Baptismal mandate impels us to follow in the footsteps of the nonviolence of Jesus and to live our life with passion for ensuring that all created by God may live with dignity. For those of us who attempt to live our lives in the Franciscan tradition, we have only to look at our Franciscan heritage, which teaches that St. Francis followed Jesus with such passion that he bore the marks of the crucifixion on his body. Our readings today assure us that God will give us “the word that will rouse them.” (Is. 50:4) God will be with us during the difficult times. “God is my help; therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint” (Is. 50:7) The Gospel, and history, assure us of the cost of following the nonviolent Jesus.
Several months before Sister Ita Ford, M.M. was martyred for living the Gospel of Jesus among the victims of the brutal civil war in El Salvador, she wrote the following wish to her niece on the occasion of her niece’s 16th birthday. “I hope that you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for – maybe even worth dying for, something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can’t tell you what it might be – that’s for you to find, to choose, to love. I can just encourage you to start looking and support you in the search.”
May all faithful people have the courage to embrace our own Passion and Resurrection and face them with the grace of Jesus, let us pray…
That our completed Lenten journey fill our hearts with the humility of Jesus so that we carry it through the Easter season and our lives, let us pray…
Dear Brothers and Sisters,