Beth Brin, University Minister for Formation & Outreach Shares Lent Reflection

As I prayed and reflected about the Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, my first reaction was that it is a long and daunting reading! It recounts the story of Christ’s passion and death, beginning with his triumphant welcome in Jerusalem and ending with betrayal and his ultimate death by crucifixion. This reading sets the stage for our Holy Week prayers, liturgies and rituals, such as palms, foot washing on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the lull of Holy Saturday, until at last, we sing Alleluia once more at the Easter Vigil. What could I possibly say in a short reflection that could do justice to the magnitude of this story? What eventually stood out, that I think is beautifully apropos for Holy Week, is the theme of preparation.

In the short Gospel reading before mass, the apostles are sent to prepare a place for Passover and secure an ass with a colt for Jesus to ride; the townspeople prepare the way for Jesus’ arrival by covering the streets with palms and cloaks. Later, in the Gospel itself, we witness Judas prepare for his betrayal of Christ.  Jesus, through his words and actions at the Last Supper prepares his friends for his impending death and for what they are to do when he is gone. In the garden, Jesus prays to prepare himself to accept, with God’s help, the cup that cannot be taken away. So many preparations. So much intention. Each preparation, by each individual, was necessary so that Jesus could fulfill the prophecies and bring salvation to the world. 

Christ was prepared not only for his death, but also for his glorious Resurrection and ultimately, those preparations were done through the love and mercy Christ has for each one of us. As we enter the final days of Lent and Holy Week, how are we being invited to prepare our hearts so that we are ready to accompany Christ on his way to the cross? How can we pray, fast and give in intentional ways during these final days so that we are able to share in the joy and freedom of Easter?

Palm Sunday Image


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