Today’s feast of Palm Sunday could be called the feast of great expectations. Jesus came to the holy city to celebrate the great feast Passover. As Matthew tells us in his gospel the crowds went wild. With great enthusiasm they welcome Jesus to the city. They spread palm branches on the road to cut down the dust, other people went before and after Jesus waving their branches crying out Hosanna to the son of David. Others proudly announced ‘this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.
Many in that crowd really hoped that Jesus was the one who was to redeem Israel. They hoped that Jesus would be their liberator who would in whatever way break the hold the Roman Empire had on God’s people and make them a nation once again. This enthusiastic crowd had great expectations. But the crowd’s enthusiasm for Jesus was countered by the authority’s concern for national security and their conviction that it was better for one man to die than for the whole nation to perish.
The people’s great expectations of Jesus were far different from God’s expectation of his son. Out second reading tells us Jesus emptied himself or his divinity and took to himself our humanity and emptied himself even more, he became a slave, a slave who would be obedient even to dying on a shameful cross. By being faithful to his father’s will our reconciliation, our peace pact with God was sealed. God’s great expectation of his son was the total obedience of Jesus, an expectation that was rewarded with Christ’s resurrection.
On the feast of Palm Sunday St. Paul tells us to have the same mindset Jesus had when he surrendered his life to his Father. The question we can ask ourselves at this Mass is; do we really mean what we say to God our Father when we say, ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done’. Are willing to echo the words of Jesus as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane; ’not my will but you will be done.
Let this be our prayer as we begin the Holy Week, thy kingdom some. May we pray it as best we can, not knowing what these words may ask of us yet trusting that Jesus our Christ will be with us gracing us to mean what we say and promising us to be at our side in every situation that comes our way.