I often find it difficult on Palm Sunday to stay with the spirit of the day.
Today, Jesus is king for a day! His glorious entrance into Jerusalem begins the journey through Holy Week with joy and praise. Followers cheered while dreaming of the changes that he would bring. We can only imagine the expectations of his disciples and those who accompanied him singing and waving palm branches. King David has finally returned! Jesus confronts the powers of the world! But we do not remain in this moment. Instead we read ahead, almost to the end of the story, and we know what the week will bring.
What if we lingered longer on this day saturated with hope and possibility? Jesus proceeds into Jerusalem in obedience to God. Obedience involves deep listening to the guidance of God’s presence within us, where resistance gives way to receptivity, trust, and responsiveness. Confronting the unjust use of power of any form involves courage, hard work, risk—and sometimes the willingness to die.
We do not know where God will ask us to go in our lives. We do not know what me might face when we put ourselves at God’s disposal. For me, it has included life at a Catholic Worker house on the West Side of Chicago, raising four children, and three years at the nexus of power between the Holy See and the Obama Administration. Challenging personal and social sin within ourselves and around us at whatever level of power requires the courage and hope of Palm Sunday—as well as the strength of knowing that whatever comes, the only power worth having is that which comes from God alone.
What do you hope for at this time for our country and world?
What life decisions might God be calling you to discern during this Holy Week? Can you give up resisting what God asks of you?
What risks have you taken to confront the unjust use of power against oppressed groups in our country?
Marian K. Diaz is an Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Loyola University Chicago.