Monday of Holy Week
IS 42: 1-7
PS 27: 1, 2, 3, 13-14
JN 12: 1-11
Yesterday, dozens of Coptic Christian churchgoers were killed in two simultaneous bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt. As the so-called, self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIL claims responsibility for the attack, Christians and people of good will the world over mourn the loss of these Palm Sunday martyrs, their martyrdom made all the more significant in light of this holy day.
Almost two millennia ago, Jesus, aware that a public struggle with the authorities awaited him, entered Jerusalem riding a donkey, greeted in triumph by the same citizens who days later will call for his execution. The public greeted him in a fashion typical of someone highly favored, waving palm fronds, a symbol of triumph, and laying them at his feet. Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet, rabbi, and healer, did not hide or shrink from the authorities he knew would challenge his public ministry. And people were glad for it. In those days, palms were also the symbol of Palestinian resistance to the Roman occupation of their homeland. The followers of Jesus wanted the new earth he preached as much as the new heaven.
Today the world still wants, still welcomes, still seeks out those voices that call for justice, for peace, for the rights of peoples to live without persecution. Where do we find them? Who is willing the pay the cost of speaking and living their truth boldly in public despite the threats to their life? Could any one of us reading these words know them as descriptive of oneself?