Palm Sunday—Year C
As Americans, we want to fix things, to make things right immediately. Your child has an ear ache? Go to the doctor. Get the antibiotic. Hungry and it’s not mealtime? Drive through McDonalds or make a Starbucks run. Bored while you wait for something? Pick up your phone and scroll or play a game. Boredom cured.
Palm Sunday’s Passion teaches us that our immediate need to make things right is not the gospel way. Jesus didn’t want to suffer. In the garden, He prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” In this sentence, He’s as American as the rest of us. But, Jesus goes a step (or really, a couple of miles) further. He adds, “Still, not my will but yours be done.” How many of us can say we’ve said (or even thought) that perhaps our way isn’t the best way, the way of the Father? That maybe getting rid of that ear infection immediately isn’t the best solution?
To live the way God wants us to live, we have to be willing to live in the uncomfortable. It’s not always fun and it’s certainly not always easy, but fixing every problem doesn’t solve every problem. In some cases it makes them worse. By treating every ear infection with antibiotics, we have created drug resistant bacteria. By filling our stomachs at the first sign of hunger, we have created a huge obesity problem. By filling every moment with activity, we have created brains that can’t rest in the quiet.
Jesus didn’t do the quick fix. Jesus walked the long slow road to Calvary, His head bleeding from the crown of thorns, His muscles quivering from the weight of the 150 pound cross on his back, His back oozing from the lashes of the whip, and His human dignity shredded by the people He loved most. His humanity was wrecked.
But His divinity was not. Jesus wasn’t afraid to live in the uncomfortable to accomplish His higher purpose. At any point, the human Jesus could have gone the easier route—He could have said no to God and skipped His baptism. He could have refused to kick off His ministry at the wedding at Cana. He could have skipped out on His three years of ministry and remained a carpenter, probably living a very comfortable, perhaps even devout, life. But He didn’t. And because He didn’t, He gave us the privilege of a personal relationship with God.
Jesus was willing to live in the uncomfortable because He knew the uncomfortable is merely an earthly curse. He was willing to ignore His own will and trust God’s, even to the point of His death, the ultimate in discomfort. Even when He still didn’t understand: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34), Jesus trusted in His God. That trust is the reason we worship as Christians today.
Now we understand that because ear infections are viral, they can’t be treated, only endured. What other of our easy ways will God show us to be false? Would you walk the road to Calvary?
Written by Ansley Dauenhauer, Coordinator of Elementary Faith Formation