Today is Sunday of the Passion, also known as Palm Sunday. Today we recall the beginning of a fateful week. It began with throngs coming out to receive Jesus as He made His entry into Jerusalem. By the end of the week, the same throngs that made a welcome tapestry out of palms and tunics turned their backs on Him. Rather than chanting “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!” they screamed, “Crucify Him!”
One would have expected that after over thirty years of life, Jesus would have deserved a little more than thirty hours to see it all to come to an end. Among his followers, there were very few, if any, expecting anything beyond a sad end and a cold tomb. For those who kept watch at the foot of the Cross, the words they barely heard, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit,” perhaps were understood as words of despair and finality.
But under the light of the Resurrection we now understand that those words had nothing to do with despair and finality but, rather, with confidence and bold faith.
Psalm 31, verse 5, our reading for today puts it this way, “My time is on God’s hands.”
While on the Cross, Jesus acknowledged God’s goodness by placing His life and future on God’s hands, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” In other words, Jesus knew that nothing is final until God says it is final. From a human perspective, and because we live under the arches of time, we fear the twists and corners of life where we cannot see what we will find until we get there. But from God’s perspective, we are safe and secure enfolded in his loving embrace, from eternity to eternity.
As the Pandemic encroaches your life, pressing on you unexpected burdens, very much like Simon being drafted to help carry the Cross, you may feel the weight not only of your own anxieties, but the questions, the challenges, and the fears of at-risk friends and elderly siblings or parents.
But here is the Good News. The events of Holy Week teach you that when you are going through the pains, fears, and agonies of the present season there is always a loving God who has not only your back, but He is offering His own back to help you carry on your burdens.
Through any challenge and any ordeal that you might be called to go through, you should always remember that you will never be alone, for “God-is-with-us,” (Do you remember “Emmanuel,” the Holy Child of Bethlehem?) Yes, God is with you, come what may.
The Gospel, the Good News that we proclaim, assures you that if you are anxious and feeling alone and fearful, facing dark and gloomy days ahead, right now it is the time where you are allowed “to hope to hope.” This is the hour to pray, “Lord, my times are in your hand. Unto You I commit my spirit.” Do it like Jesus, not as an expression of finality, but as an expression of trust in the loving care of God.
Further down the portion of Psalm 31 assigned for today, in verses 19 and 20, the Psalmist affirms, “You lavish goodness on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence.” This is God’s invitation to you. Come to his welcoming arms and take shelter under his presence.
Living Savior: In your hour of need you were not afraid to put yourself on the hands of your loving Father. Allow me now to take shelter under the shadow of your presence. Let your warm goodness and your peace soothe my spirit, blessing me with joy and the assurance of your favor and love. Amen.