The National Catholic Review

I wrote something different for Palm Sunday than what I am posting here, but felt it was too personal to post, not with respect to me, but with respect to neighbors, friends, my family and my parish. I did not identify anyone by name, with the exception of a kind and good neighbor, identifying him as a model of Christ’s humility, yet it seemed that I put many people under a microscope, rendering them specimens in my examination of this passage. They did not ask me to write about them, and I wondered of the worthwhileness of showing them even if it was in kindness or rising to meet challenges. Apart from that, I wanted to call out members of my parish on a particular issue, which upon further reflection is an issue with which I too struggle. Part of the problem that comes from teaching the Bible, and writing about the Bible, is a kind of "professional deformation," which seems to be an academic parallel to seeing the "mote" in someone else’s eye, but never the beam in one’s own eye. What is this deformation? It is the reality that it is much easier to write about the Bible, with some depth and sometimes even wisdom, than to enact it in one’s own life. The pen can even become a sly way of sticking the knife to unwitting players in one’s own drama.

We are all players in the divine drama, and especially on Palm Sunday we see enacted the prophetic sign-act of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his preparation for his Passion. It was not something he could avoid; it was not something he could ask someone else to enact. He had to prepare for what was to come. He had to be ready. At various times in our lives, we will have to ready, not to tell others what to know, or what to do, or how to interpret, or how to think, but to live with humility and obedience and to face the challenges of Easter as our own challenges. Christ began his preparation for Palm Sunday, and for Easter, by taking on human being and then humbling himself, "becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:8, a part of Palm Sunday’s Second Reading. The second stanza of the Hymn to Christ tells us of Christ’s exaltation, his Lordship and the worship of him by all creatures. Exaltation is a part of our future, too, but every Easter I need to remind myself of what came before, and of all the things I might yet still be called to face. I find it easier to write about other people than to live my life in light of Easter. Why is it so much easier to find ways other people might act more humbly than to put into place the humility that must be at the heart of my daily life?