The blessed palms we will take home today ask us to think about how we welcome Jesus into our lives, and, even more…they point to how welcome we are into Jesus’ life. After all this time of preparation of Lent, we begin the Mass this week declaring Him King of our life and our all. But, we know the rest of the story don’t we?
We know that the welcome of Palm Sunday changes dramatically five days later into betrayal, denial, rejection, injustice and condemnation to a painful death on a cross. But not even that lack of welcome stopped Jesus from inviting us into His life with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Although Facebook and other tools on the Internet certainly lead many people to post…publicly…thoughts that are much too personal for all involved) we do not readily reveal our thoughts, words, motives and desires to anyone who comes along. No…the inner part of our hearts hold those people and things we most treasure. It is so clear that we are in the heart of God. We are so special and loved by Him that the words spoken to Jeremiah the Prophet apply to all of us: “The word of the Lord came to me: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. ‘Ah, Lord God!’ I said, ’I do not know how to speak. I am too young!’ But the Lord answered me, Do not say, ’I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:4-8) Right after the water was poured over our heads when we were baptized, the priest or deacon anointed our foreheads with Sacred Chrism and prayed, “As Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king, so may you live always as a member of His Body, sharing everlasting life.” Our everlasting, eternal life, eternal relationship with God began the moment we were baptized. And…yes, we are all priests, prophets, and princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God.
Anyone who prays is engaged in priestly activity, because prayer is speaking to God on our own behalf or on behalf of others. In Baptism we become a child of God, a member of God’s family, and consequently, a brother or sister of Jesus. Jesus is the great High Priest, the One Who offered His very life on the cross for love of us and love for the Father and His will. Our blessing is that Jesus has made us God’s children in the intimacy of His life with the Father and Holy Spirit. One of the powerful ways to recognize our priestly character is to pray as Jesus did: “Our Father, who art in heaven…….” Those are the very words He Himself has given us to help us speak to the Father from the heart just as He did in these (and countless other) words of prayer. We are all prophets. That does not mean we go around calling people to repentance, but that by the very way we live our lives everyday, we proclaim the goodness, love, mercy and compassion of God as His children to all He entrusts to our care. We are also princes and princesses. That does not mean we have crowns or sit on thrones. Our kingly role is seen in Jesus Christ our King (and eldest Brother). Our power is His power, the power and privilege to love, forgive and humbly serve no matter what.
Palm Sunday is a reminder to us that every Sunday…well everyday…is Palm Sunday. In other words, everyday is a day to give thanks for the welcome God has given us to be part of His life and to welcome God in all we say, do and think each day. How powerful and life giving it is to be welcomed by God and to welcome Him into our daily lives. How blessed we are to be the blessing of His welcome to one another. Happy Palm Sunday! Happy Everyday!