Palm Sunday: Father Gethin

Palm Sunday

A Word about the Readings
by Father Gethin

(The readings may be found here)

A curious point about our Lord’s earthly life is the lack of any writing left by Him. He was educated, could read and write, and was a constant teacher and commentator on Scripture; His sermons and illustrations clearly show a good deal of reflection and preparation—so that they were meant to be remembered and learned; nevertheless, He set nothing on paper. Partly that must have been for cultural reasons—Rabbis weren’t in the general habit of publishing their sermons—but surely, in His unique place, to set something in writing would have been one powerful tool to help establish the message of the Gospel? What could be more authoritative than a letter from Jesus Himself?

And yet, as we approach once again the events of Holy Week, to recall the story of our Lord’s final confrontation with the darkness of this fallen world, and to discover also our own place in the story, perhaps it becomes more clear why Jesus wrote nothing down.

And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord”. If He were only a teacher, or a worker of miracles, or a prophet, He might have felt inclined to leave a text, because the words would be the best distillation of His meaning and purpose—the words would be His legacy. But Christ is more than a prophet, and more than a collection of wisdoms and insight; He is Wisdom itself, and His meaning and purpose can only properly be found where they eternally reside: in Himself. His story must be recalled and shared by His witnesses, but for His part, His work is simply to accomplish the gracious will of the Father: “[taking] upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The truth, as He told them, is His very person. So if we would find it we must also make our pilgrimage, our Lenten journey, in the wilderness outside the city, to the place of a skull, and discover what all these things should be. It is not His story that needs to be proven, but rather ours: are we moved by fear and indignation, or hardness of heart, or distaste, or merely disinterest? Or do we find the courage and the hope to gaze upon His wounds, and perceive with the eyes of faith, as the centurion for a moment saw, that this indeed is the Son of God. Let this Holy Week open a way in our hearts for the Word, who is our Lord, to enter in and bear our sorrows, and to renew us in His love, even as we submit to His Truth: “[Letting] this mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Palm Sunday: Father Gethin