Thought of the week Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a day of welcome. When at the beginning if today’s liturgy we say that very strange word ‘Hosanna’ we are unknowingly using a very ancient greeting of welcome. It is why the gospels record the crowds shouting “Hosanna in the highest” as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Obviously, they were welcoming Him.
Nevertheless, a person would only use the word “hosanna” in a religious way; that is, in relation to God. For example, as you entered the great Temple on pilgrimage, the Priests of the Temple would stand at the gates crying, “Blessings in him who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest”. Does this sound familiar? It should. We use these words every time we celebrate Mass. Just before the Holy Spirit is asked to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ we say “Hosanna”. We welcome the living God who is about to enter His Temple under these humble forms.
The question is, do we truly welcome Him? Will we truly mean that very special word ‘hosanna’ and welcome God-in-Christ in our week, our hearts and our lives? When we say these words at Mass, do we mean them
To make someone welcome is to make them feel at ease so that they may be their true selves and feel at home. Jesus brought the presence of God into Jerusalem in the same way as that same presence comes to us at Mass. Do we accept Him as He reveals Himself to us? The crowds in Jerusalem will later say “crucify Him” because they will not like what they hear and see. They have not made Him welcome in their midst. When we welcome Jesus into this Holy Week and into our lives, will we accept Him for who He is, or will we reject Him? Will we be the crowd standing by as He makes His Way of the Cross? Or will we stand at the foot of that Cross and say, “Truly this is the Son of God”? If so, our welcome, our hosanna, must mean He has entered our lives not as a guest, but as one who has come home.