Processions and the Process of Conversion
The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem—a glorious procession with palms and vivid red colors—begins our celebration of Holy Week. We complete Lent and enter this Holy Week raising our voices with hosannas of praise. The crowds ask “Who is this?” Lent has given us all an opportunity to reflect on who Jesus is to each of us this year? How have we discovered or rediscovered Jesus’ influence In our lives this Lent?
We hear the story of the passion of Jesus every year. We hear of the disciples’ betrayal. We would like to think that we would never do that—that we would stay awake with Jesus, that we would never deny knowing Jesus, that we would not abandon Jesus. This week gives us the opportunity to reflect on the times when we fail to live up to the promises we made at Baptism. Did we deny our faith for convenience or fail to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, bury the dead, or visit the sick? Did our silence in the face of injustice, or our failure to act on behalf of others cause more hurt and suffering for the most vulnerable among us?
“My God, why have you abandoned me?” Can you hear this cry from anyone in our world today? As you hear and watch the news of the world this week, will we hear the cry of the abandoned, of the suffering?
As we carry our blessed palms this Sunday, we can take them and let them be a reminder to us all year long of Jesus’ sacrifice and his words to us from the passion. Our palm branches can remind us to ask for forgiveness and commit to making a greater effort to remain alert to the needs of others around us. Our Rice Bowls are ready to be turned in and our palms take their place, reminding us that we are always in procession—in the process of being converted more deeply in our faith and in our actions.
May this Holy Week be filled with acts of love and forgiveness, with blessings of new insights in our daily conversion experiences and with intentional processions with the community as we celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus!