Hosanna to the Son of David

Today is Palm Sunday. Catholics today will process into Mass palms in hand, listening to Matthew’s account of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We will hear how as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, people spread their cloaks on the road and cried out saying “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”

There is something disquieting about sitting in Mass and listening to the Gospel account. We listen to it at the beginning of this Holy Week, knowing the next chapter in the story. And, since we do know what comes next, we need to ask ourselves: how did the crowd turn so quickly from “Blessed is he” to “Crucify him”? How could many of the the same people who proclaimed the first demand the second?

It is not just an interesting historical question. It is not just about those people on those two days.  No, there is a lesson for us.  An invitation to examine our own behavior: to ask if there aren’t at least some times  that we praise God in one breath and, by our words and deeds, reject him in the next.

I’m not sure we are all that different from the crowds we hear about today