SIXTH WEEK OF LENT: PALM SUNDAY
Jesus on the Cross, abandoned, stripped and blasphemed
1st Prelude. Behold Jesus, so short a time since triumphantly received, abandoned and blasphemed.
2nd Prelude. Ask for the grace to detach yourself from the world, that you may attach yourself to God alone.
POINT I. “And all His acquaintance … stood afar off, beholding these things.”
CONSIDERATION. All the ceremonies of Palm Sunday, the blessing of the palms, the procession, the chanted hosannas, are instituted by the Church to recall the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on that day. What a contrast, at only six days’ interval, between the honours then rendered to Our Lord and the affronts and blasphemies that greet Him now! Then, a great multitude that was come to the festival, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem took branches of palm-trees and went forth to meet Him; and now He is condemned to death, He is left alone, abandoned by His friends, who stand afar off beholding Him!
APPLICATION. Let us learn from this not to count upon the help or consolation of our friends, particularly in times of misfortune or persecution; and to bear the want of sympathy even from our brethren and superiors, content to have God alone for the witness of our sorrows and sufferings. Happy is the religious who has early learnt this lesson; he is never heard to complain of neglect or want of consideration on the part of others. Jesus abandoned on the cross is sufficient for him.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTION.
POINT II. “The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified Him, took His garments, and they made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat.”
CONSIDERATION. Six days before, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, not satisfied with welcoming Our Lord in triumphal procession, spread their garments in His way, and strewed them before Him. And how do they treat Him now? They strip Him of His garments and divide them before His eyes into four parts!
APPLICATION. Jesus, thus deprived of all things, even of those considered absolutely necessary to existence, teaches us the nothingness of those earthly possessions which worldly men seek so eagerly, often to their soul’s cost. Jesus suffers Himself to be thus despoiled with perfect calmness; for He is detached from everything below. Let us thank Him for having called us to the profession of holy poverty, the source of our peace, security and happiness.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And they that passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads, and saying: … If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and the ancients.”
CONSIDERATION. Another contrast, not less striking than the preceding ones. Six days ago the multitude that formed the procession from Bethphage to Jerusalem were crying with one voice “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord, hosanna in the highest!” and now this same multitude, after having denied the Messiah they so lately had received in triumph, mock and blaspheme Him even in the very agonies of death!
APPLICATION. Today they cry “Hosanna”, they reverence and applaud Him; tomorrow it is “Crucify Him!” and He is forgotten, disdained and despised. Such is the history of earthly greatness; what folly, therefore, if in the exercise of your sacred ministry, or in any other work, you seek for notice, fame, or applause! In doing so, not only will you lose all merit in the sight of God, but you will lose likewise the esteem of men, who detest vanity, particularly in a religious.
COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lord.