Today’s Gospel reading from Mark tells us about Jesus’ grand entrance into Jerusalem only days before his Crucifixion. High drama with colts, palms, and cheering crowds, what is not to like, huh? But we know the rest of the story don’t we, as only a few days later these cheering fans will be jeering Jesus hanging on the Cross.
What a reversal? But if we think about it each one of us at times made sudden reversals, turning on family members, friends, co-workers, or even God at times for little or no reason. We can sometimes become judgmental (not judging by God’s standards but our own) and the reality is- as Scripture tells us- the measure we use to judge others we also subconsciously use on ourselves. The result is we feel terrible. We blew it- made a mistake, sinned or made some faux pas and now we are ruined! It is easy to feel this way as our popular culture dramatizes every personal tragedy and setback, painting an image of the human person as unnecessarily frail.
Talk about blowing it- how about the first century Jews in Jerusalem? The people rejoiced at Jesus’ arrival to the city and then a few days later condemned Him. A tragedy to be sure, but what might it tell us? Yes, the people of Jerusalem blew it, made a mistake and were swayed by mob psychology to condemn an innocent man, but what was Jesus’ response? Jesus did not turn away for Peter (who denied Him) or the Apostles who fled and even allowed St. Paul, who formerly persecuted the early Church, to be a major bearer of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus response was not condemnation but love, acceptance and forgiveness and this is not just in the past. Christ lives and offers forgiveness and love to everyone, even those who rejected Him. Mistakes, sins and omissions are not the end- Jesus’ love embraces everyone, including us today. We may sin, our lives can be altered by life choices, but God’s Love reaches out to us wherever we are to bring us hope, peace and joy. Life is not ever destroyed ultimately by life’s sins/mistakes/omissions unless we choose to ignore Christ’s Love. What a message for us? Live and know that nothing we do, say and fail at can block us from the love of God except by our choice.
Mission Doctors help heal and bring life through their gifts of medicinal expertise. Please help them through prayer and donations. God bless you and Happy Lent!
Br. John Kiesler, OFM