So here it is, Palm Sunday. I always feel a little queasy going to Mass on this day because I know what’s coming. We read the Passion narrative (from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Sunday to His Crucifixion on Good Friday) and those of us attending play the part of the crowd. Thus we recite lines such as “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and taunts of, “He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
I know that I’m a sinner and Jesus died for me, but the connection between my sins and Jesus’ crucifixion is so clear on Palm Sunday, there’s no ignoring it. And even though I say “Crucify Him!” every time I sin, there’s just something about reading the Passion narrative and saying it out loud that is so very, very disturbing. It’s easy to explain away my “small” sins on a day to day basis and to deny their true impact, but they’re not explained away today. On Palm Sunday my sins are there on the Cross – the reason Jesus is being crucified. And though I cringe as I type this, it’s the truth.
Jesus is on the cross because of every swear I’ve ever said, every stupid thing I’ve said or done in anger, every thought I’ve had that objectified another person, every lie I’ve told, and every accusation I’ve made against God. He’s up there because of me – plain and simple.
But we do, after all, call the day of Jesus’ Passion “Good Friday.” And though perhaps from what I’ve written “good” may not seem like the appropriate adjective, that’s because we’ve only looked at half of the equation. Yes we’ve sinned and are responsible for Jesus’ Crucifixion – but how lucky we are to have a Redeemer who loves us so much! Whose love is so strong not even death could contain it! Who sees all of our faults and weaknesses and still says, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
So I must agree Good Friday is an apt name, because though it is a day of sorrow, it’s also the day Jesus demonstrated His undying love for each and everyone of us. It’s the day the veil of the temple was torn, the New Covenant forged, and the path cleared for our adoption as children of God. Good indeed!