Cathy Goretsky’s Reflection for Palm Sunday 2013
Here is the Reflection for this week. I hope you enjoy it and that you feel free to send it far and wide. I always enjoy hearing from people who receive the writings from their friends. Once I send something into cyberspace, I have no idea where it may go! Once I saw one of my writings published in a Catholic school newsletter in Australia! Can you imagine? I am humbled and grateful when I hear from people who have received and enjoyed the writings. God is good! I hope you have a prayerful Holy Week!
REFLECTION FOR PALM SUNDAY 2013
By Cathy Goretsky
This coming week, Holy Week, we will recall Jesus’ journey from the “Hosannah!” of His entry into Jerusalem to the cruel cries of “Crucify Him!” That is some journey!
It’s a lot for us to digest, even though we have heard the stories told and retold many times during our lifetime. Sometimes the familiar words and the depiction of the events are so graphic and, if we have seen some of the movies made about the Passion of Christ, so very realistic, that we want to turn away. It’s too painful to look; to see Jesus stand silent before Pilate. We know He isn’t going to defend Himself. He will stand silently. He will suffer silently. He will endure the betrayal, the desertion, the beating, the pain, the suffering without any attempt to speak out.
We know we could not do it, so we don’t really want to watch it. We don’t want to feel the pain of having our closest friends turn their backs on us. We don’t want to think about how all of our words and actions now seem not to have reached any hearts at all! We don’t want to experience the worst feeling of all – total abandonment – the feeling that finally caused Jesus to cry out those awful words – “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?”
If we are to find meaning in the recital of the Passion of Jesus, we can focus on one point, because that one point does apply to each of us. Read through the account of these events in the Gospels. What we learn is that in the end, Jesus had the strength to endure it all up to that one terrible moment; Silently He endured the betrayal by Judas, the denial by Peter, the turning of the crowds against Him. What He could not bear was feeling separated from His Father! That was the moment when the heavy burden of sin, our sin – not His, broke His heart and allowed Him to experience what we experience when we sin – the bleakness of separation from God.
Do we even begin to realize what sin does? Certainly we see examples of sin every day in the news. We cringe at some of the actions we read about. We wonder how people could possibly do such horrible things, yet, the further away we grow from our connection to God, the greater the realization that we, too, are not only capable of evil, we are drawn to it. So, what is the lesson of Holy Week for us?
We cannot undo what was done to Jesus. It is a part of our faith story. There is something that we can do. We can live our lives in such a way that we do not experience that horrible sensation of being separated from God. Is it easy? No easier than it was for Jesus to stand silently while He was betrayed; no easier than it was for Him to keep from shouting to the jeering crowd: “Don’t you remember anything I taught you?”
Sometimes we forget that Jesus possessed a fully human nature as well as His divine nature. He felt what we feel. He was hurt by Peter’s denial. He was broken-hearted because the people that He had fed when they were hungry, the people that he had cured of their infirmities and their blindness were nowhere to be found in the crowd. No, instead the crowd screamed for His crucifixion! Surely He must have felt that He had failed to reach them. He must have been burdened and broken not only by the weight of the cross, but by the weight of His human emotions.
If we are burdened by sin, we do not have to remain in that separated state. Jesus is our Bridge. He taught us how to live our lives so that we understand there is a way back. It is called repentance, a turning away from sin and back toward our connection with God.
Our minds find it difficult to really take in the full significance of this week ahead. I like to think that Jesus would like us to remember that Love is really the answer. For me, a simple way to think of this is………the opposite of sin is Love. Both are choices, and we have many opportunities every day to make the choices that will lead us in one of those two directions.
My prayer is that, like Jesus, we will choose Love!