Passion (Palm) Sunday – 2022 – The Doorway To A Sacred Journey
.We are once again at the threshold of the most sacred days of the Church year, days of Holy Week that connect us in a powerful way to the people of God throughout the globe. We’ll be able to celebrate in person this year. The joy of that will be mixed in with the solemnity we are acknowledging and the tremendous suffering of our world right now. We know that Ukraine is just one place our hearts are drawn to.
There are many others clamoring for our attention. We can be almost overwhelmed by the suffering of our brothers and sisters, whether they are intimate family and friends, or strangers that we encounter on the evening news. I hope that each of us can use this Holy Week to allow ourselves to be connected to others who are suffering.
I have previously used an image offered by Pope Benedict XVI. He described Palm Sunday as the great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way toward the culmination of his earthly existence and journeys through the great mysteries of human life.
A doorway leading to Holy Week is inviting us to mysteries that are both familiar and unknown. I know what to expect in Holy Week. It’s like coming home to mysteries that I have lived with all my life. But the events of suffering, death, and resurrection are always experienced in new ways. The experience depends on what has happened to me and to the world around me since we last entered these mysteries.
How am I more deeply aware of the suffering of the world and individuals this year? What experiences in my own life or the life of those around me do I hold onto as we look toward Good Friday and the Cross? How do I need to experience the real effects of the rebirth of Resurrection at this point in my life? It’s good for us to ask what our true expectations are for this week. What are our deepest desires as we enter through this day’s doorway to Holy Week?
The Greeting at the start of the Palm Sunday liturgy invites to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Let us commemorate the Lord’s entry into the city of our salvation, following in his footsteps. This doorway leads to a sacred journey. I’ve always been struck by the processional nature of Palm Sunday. There may or may not be a real procession with blessed palms. But, at the very least, there is the reminder of a procession.
Jesus is on his way of the Cross. As with most people moving towards their death, he will look back at his life: his childhood and the experience of being a member of a refugee family, his adolescence and early adulthood, all he gained from his mother and stepfather, his extended family, his friends. He will also remember his three years of public ministry and the many people he encountered.
Jesus likely experienced many emotions as he entered Jerusalem. He is greeted today with palms and crowds and roars. That mood will shift in a few days. How fickle the crowd is!
Joyce Rupp, a wonderfully creative spiritual writer and presenter, published a book in 2008: Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self. She uses doorways – an ordinary and everyday object – to help with reflection. She has designed a six-week retreat. Among the chapters, she deals with knocking on the door, opening the door, standing on the threshold, and so on.
“Rupp helps us see that something as everyday as a doorway can help us to ponder our spiritual growth. A good exercise for Palm Sunday and Holy Week is to unlock the spiritual lessons that are being offered to us. What is behind the doorway that we are invited to step into over the next week