Palm Sunday is always a day of mixed feelings. There is hope, yet also the idea that everybody praises God and within six days, they crucify Him. We take our palms to be reminded that we are to worship God and put Him first in our lives. Like the people so many centuries ago, we have a difficult time loving God, and so we sin and offend Him who suffered so much so that we could be with Him forever. Our sins put Him on the cross, yet our sins are forgiven by the cross He hung upon.
The bittersweetness of the cross pulls us closer to God and His wisdom. The sweetness brings joy, the bitterness brings us spiritual growth. The bigger the sinner, the more bitter. Yet those who are forgiven much, love much (Lk 7:47). The more we sin, the more we realize that we cannot save ourselves and the more we realize what a mess of things we make without God. We really need God and His grace to heal us.
The grace He brings us is not the typical strength of the arm we tend to prefer. Rather, God uses His power to bring healing, reconciliation, peace and joy. God uses His authority to bring us all that is good and holy. He had patience with those holding those palms on that first Palm Sunday. They praised Him as being the King of kings and Lord of lords, and rightfully so. But their hearts were divided. Some hearts were not intent on it at all. We hope that our hearts would be intent on loving God the way we should. But this is not something we can do on our own.
To love God as He ought to be loved is not in our own capacity to do. If He did not call us first, we would have never known His love to respond to. He has loved us first, and for that we can thank Him. He chose to love us. He chose to love us to the point of death. Nowhere on earth have we experienced this kind of love. He died on the cross for us not just so we can live here on earth; Jesus died on the cross for us to save us from the fires of hell. Moreover, He died on the cross for us so that we can experience His love forever in heaven. Where can we experience that kind of love, but in God alone?
We hold our palms on this Palm Sunday, remembering all God has done for us. We remember how God revealed Himself in Jesus as He suffered and died for us with an ever deeper meaning of how He defines our “salvation” by His love.
How can we not respond to Jesus alone with such devotion and love in return.