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Palm Sunday,2016

Christine McMichael, associate

The center of this Sunday’s readings is: The Passion of the Lord.  At the risk of stating the obvious; the readings on Palm Sunday are long!

My thoughts about The Passion vary considerably based on the role I am fulfilling at the moment. 

Back in the day, as a young, idealistic, single woman, I loved going to Mass on Palm Sunday by myself.  Sure it was a long Mass, that was a given, but it was beautiful and peaceful, too.  During those times, I would ponder so many complexities of the plot and the Passion narrative.  In those times, I would be thinking like someone from the 21st century wanting to right the ills 21 centuries prior.  I would get to Mass early and prayer fully ponder the 'what ifs?'.  What if Pilate had been more resolute in his assertion of Jesus' innocence?  What if Jesus behaved…differently?  What if justice and love prevailed?  What if? What if? 

While wearing the 'mom' hat, I’ve had a variety of responses to the Palm Sunday readings.  Oh yes, during the toddler years, it was all about the length; as in, "How am I going to keep him reasonably occupied for all that time?" Then there was the business of the novelty of the palms!  Sure, I would pack supplies accordingly.  And though, thankfully, the trend is to welcome small children at Mass, it was very distracting for me as the 'mom'.  In fact, on many a Sunday during those years, it was difficult to feel as though I had fully participated in the Mass.     

More recently in the role of ‘mom’, and with my son beginning to embrace his relationship with Jesus, I think to myself, "How am I going to explain, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" if that should be the question du jour?  Who would want to kill Jesus, the man, the savior who I have explained is 'all good and deserving of all my love'… Jesus, the ultimate Boy Scout!  Who would ever want to crucify him?  

How can I ever teach that lesson when each time I read the Passion, I remain in disbelief that it went down the way it did? 

In as much as I treasure the motherhood role, it is through the privilege of serving as lector for the Passion readings that my soul is truly touched.  In fact, I am always super excited on any Sunday that I am scheduled to 'read', or proclaim the Sacred Scriptures.  But today, we're talking about the Passion.

Sure, the Passion is still long.  The imagery is difficult to accept/internalize and to put forth for the congregation…  And yes, there is an added pressure to 'get it right' as there is an entire congregation reading along and responding with you.  Yet it is during those times, I feel as though I am closer than ever to Jesus and his experience.  The Passion is filled with emotion.  In a certain way in as much as it is public, it is also very private.  If I may, it feels like an intimate visitation with Jesus himself and in my heart, I am promising to carry on, to pick up the torch for the next leg of the journey, to continue his work today in the 21st century.  While I am not sure I will ever be comfortable with the 'Crucify him!  Crucify him!' passage, I am looking forward to this Sunday; for it is then that we will begin the walk through the most holy of weeks to get to the glory of the resurrection.

How will you approach the experience of the Passion this Sunday and Holy Week? 


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