Hosanna! To the Suffering Christ!

March 24, 2024

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year B)

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Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9–10

Throughout Jesus’ life, He traveled to Jerusalem many times. As a child, He was presented in the Temple. At age twelve, He was found teaching the teachers of the Law in the Temple. As He grew, He made regular pilgrimages to the Temple. During His temptation in the desert, the devil took Him to the pinnacle of the Temple. In the Gospels, we read of at least four different trips to the Temple during Jesus’ public ministry. However, the trip to Jerusalem that we commemorate today was unlike any other. As Jesus entered Jerusalem this time, His life was already being sought by the religious leaders. Despite that fact, Jesus entered Jerusalem with great solemnity and with much attention. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” was the cry by the crowd as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while palm branches and cloaks were strewn before Him.

Though this was the most fitting way for the people of faith to welcome their King, their warm welcome, their cries “Hosanna!” and their excitement were more beneficial to them than they were to Jesus. Jesus is God. He has no need of our praise and honor. But Jesus came to us to invite us to praise, honor and worship Him because it is good for us. We need to praise Him. This is what we are made for. This leads to the fulfillment of our lives.

As we begin Holy Week, try to spend time with this image of the people honoring our Lord with much enthusiasm. This is an image depicting who we must become. As we continue through this Holy Week, we must become increasingly aware of the God to Whom we offer our praise and worship. He is a God Who lowered Himself in the eyes of all, took on the form of a slave, permitted Himself to be labeled as a grave sinner, was rejected, beaten and killed. This week, especially, we worship the suffering Christ. We worship a Man Who was arrested and cruelly treated. We worship a Man who was hated and mistreated in the worst way possible.

Our wholehearted worship of the suffering Christ is an important act to fulfill. In many ways, it is easier to worship God as He is in Heaven on His glorious throne. When we ponder the myriads of angels gathered around Him, the saints of all time bowing to the ground and glory and splendor radiating from His face, worship seems right. To worship a Man accused of being a criminal and suffering capital punishment while enduring the hatred of many is more difficult to comprehend. But if we are able to see Jesus through the eyes of faith and peer through the hatred and lies that surrounded Him, then we will be in awe of the humility of our God Who came to us this way.

Our worship of the suffering Christ also invites us to share in His virtue as He endured all that was inflicted upon Him. When we worship the humiliated Christ, our humiliations take on new power and meaning. When we worship the suffering Christ, our sufferings are elevated to share in His redemption. When we worship the rejected, despised and persecuted Christ, any ways that we share in these hardships are transformed.

Reflect, today, upon the God Whom you worship this Holy Week. Do not shy away from all that Jesus endured. Gaze at His rejection and passion. Look at the hatred He endured. As you do, see not only your glorious God, see also the remedy for all your ills. God descended to us in this most humble form so that He could meet us where we are at and raise us to new life with Him.

My suffering Lord, I worship You and praise You with all my heart. As You entered Jerusalem for the Passover, You intended to give new power to that celebration by becoming the New and Eternal Paschal Lamb. May I always worship You Who suffered for me and give to You all that I endure in life to be transformed by Your saving act. Jesus, I trust in You.

Meditation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion:
40 Days in the Desert

Resources for Lent

Divine Mercy Reflections

Scripture Meditations for Lent

All Saints/Feasts

Further Reading – Palm Sunday

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Featured image above: Jesus Christ Icon, via Adobe