As we now come to the sacred days of Holy Week, I offer you a Palm Sunday reflection by Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO
“The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches from palm trees and went out to meet him shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus is the model for all human persons, the universal human being, as it were. Jesus shows us the enormous potentialities hidden within us. By letting God enter our lives and very selves we make it possible for them to be realized. Jesus is coming to us and not just to an ancient city.
According to Paul’s great hymn to God’s humility, the divine Person of the Word, source of everything that exists, didn’t cling to the divine dignity or condition or prerogatives, but threw them all away. It is as though God had a need not to act like God.
In creating, God, in a sense, dies. God is not alone but completely involved in the evolution of creatures. God makes them so lovable! So Christ emptied himself of the divine power that could have protected him and instead opened himself in complete vulnerability. Think of his stretching out his arms on the cross to embrace all human suffering.
In the most real sense, we too are the body of God. We are a “new humanity” in which the Word becomes flesh. We too can be in the service of the Divine Word. God experiences human life through our senses, our emotions, our thoughts. Each of us gives the eternal Word a new way in which to disclose infinite potentiality.
God knows a human self from inside and experienced the human condition in all its ramifications. We are incorporated into this new creation that Christ brings to the world and so to experience the Father’s infinite concern. God transcends suffering and joy but manifests himself in both and Jesus wants us to experience God as He does. We leave behind every false self and become a new self.
Christ on the donkey is riding to his death. This reveals the heart of God once and for all and in such a way that no one can every doubt God’s infinite mercy unless by doubting that God has become human in Christ. At the Eucharist we hear the words: “This is my Body”. The power of that utterance extends to each of us. Christ enters into us and awakens and celebrates his great sacrifice, saying to each of us:“You are my body. You are my blood.” It is a question of our cooperating in these words coming true, more and more, day by day. Do we want Christ to enter into us? Do we want whatever that will mean—for us and for the entire human world?
Peace and Blessings on the way,
The Rev. Paul Jeanes III