Fr. James Martin, S.J.; This Holy Week, remember that Jesus understands you

Detail of, "The Bishop of Assisi Giving a Palm to Saint Clare" ca. 1360 (Met Museum). 

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play
Join our Patreon Community

Advertisement

I’m sure most of us have images of Palm Sunday from movies that we’ve seen. We imagine Jesus riding on a donkey as the people of Jerusalem wave palm branches and cheer, “Hosanna in the highest!” And, as the Gospels describe it, the events of the first Palm Sunday probably weren't too different from that.

A few weeks ago I was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and in Jerusalem you can trace the route that Jesus took, from the Mount of Olives, down into the Kidron Valley and then up to Jerusalem, through a city gate that they can still identify. 

But, for me, Palm Sunday is less about the scenes than about the spiritual message. That is, less about exteriors than about the interiors. Specifically, about how life can change so suddenly. One day Jesus is entering the holy city to the crowd’s cheers, a few days later he is being condemned by the crowds and nailed to a cross.

It’s a sobering reminder of quickly our lives can change. It can be shocking when, all of a sudden, you have a change in fortune. You lose your job, get diagnosed with an illness, or suffer a death in your family. But Jesus understands what you’re going through, because he has gone through this himself. He understands you not only because he’s divine and knows all things but because he is human and experienced all things.

During Holy Week, then, perhaps you could reflect on this essential truth: Jesus understands you.

[Don’t miss any of the latest writings, podcasts and videos from Father Martin. Sign up for his newsletter.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Dave Bollinger
1 year 3 months ago

Thank you, Fr. Martin. A very timely message as there is much suffering in the Catholic Church.

Advertisement
More: Prayer

The latest from america

Due to his unrelenting defense of the indigenous population and peasants struggling for land ownership, Bishop Casaldaliga was seen as an enemy by land barons, miners and loggers.
These would be the “first priests of the pandemic generation,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said during a socially distanced gathering outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
A protester holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2019, after the court ruled against adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters) 
The Covid-19 pandemic and skepticism of the federal government are forcing Latino leaders to get creative in promoting this year's census, reports J.D. Long-García.
J.D. Long-GarcíaAugust 10, 2020
(iStock/SDI Productions)
A federal court recently ruled that access to a “foundational level of literacy” is a basic right. That could spur new reforms to public education, as well as new school-choice options.
Joseph J. DunnAugust 10, 2020