Palm Sunday - 2012
The Return of the Prodigal Son
Pompeo Batoni (1773)
Today, perhaps surprising to some, we walk into Holy Week. Already Easter is almost upon us. It is not a time to weigh how successful our Lenten practices have been. Rather, it is a time to let the heart, mind and soul be in special conversation with Jesus.
Imagine what thoughts and feelings must have been flowing in the mind and heart of Mary's Son as he rode a notoriously stupid animal in a parade or procession into Jerusalem. Hosannas! could be heard with every step the animal took during this procession which was destined ultimately to the chants of "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Try to imagine what you might have felt like if you were in Jesus' place and you knew what was ahead for you. Could you have endured just this first act of the tragedy--redemption reality? This was not play, no enactment of earlier predictions from both the Old Testament and Jesus' teachings. Everything this week is divinely designed "For You." Think for a moment of the Stations of the Cross you might see today in your parish church or at some other time this week. You Pastor could suspend a sign beneath each of these painful stops that would read "For Me." Yes, everything that Jesus endured during the week that is so sacred and solemn "For Me."
The Batoni painting continues above because it is a reminder to each of us of the richness of the gift that is God's love for us and the sinless man's suffering for our sins. Imagine what the son was trying to say to his father through the sobs that must have been so painful to the father almost as painful as the errors, the sinfulness, the stupidity of his errant son. Yet it was the tragedy of the son's previous life that caused the father to love his son with such intensity. You and I, we are no different. God's love for us is so intense because of our sins. Again recall these words: it is the sinner that God loves, it is not the sin.
Throughout these days of this Holy Week I exhort you to join me is taking time each day to enter that conversation our souls seek so often: those special moments when you and I are sharing our hearts emotions with the God who loved each of us so much.
For your love of me, Lord Jesus, I am so grateful. For my sins, Father, I kneel before you with the words "Forgive me."