The crowds that were going before him and the one following were shouting, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Holy One!
Hosanna in the highest!”
So Pilate, wanting to satiate the crowd, released Barabbas to them; then he handed Jesus over for flogging and to be crucified.
It is a long road we journey in Holy Week. It travels the full extent of the human experience with glimpses of the wonder of God’s faithfulness and transforming power all along the way. The traditional pairing of the Palms—Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the excitement of the crowds, with their (our?) equally energized shouts of “crucify” in the Passion narrative is surely jarring for the quickness of the turn. To give ourselves to this turn, to attend to the twists and trajectories the story projects for our own soulfulness is so important to a deep and generative understanding of our human story and the ways of God’s saving grace.
These will be more lavishly considered in the Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, presenting us with eyes and hearts open to Easter morning. But on this Palm-Passion Sunday we get a preview, a taste of what is coming, a shimmer of God’s own motherly sorrow and passion for a world that condemns and crucifies and yet echoes God’s own Spirit in overcoming the worst we are capable of with transforming and self-giving love.
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