This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday. The passion narrative is proclaimed, but first we hear a Gospel reading from Matthew describing the entrance of our Lord in Jerusalem. It begins the high time of our faith and Church, Holy week. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey signifying him as the messiah-king fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah. The Jewish people make a path for him using branches and laying their cloaks down on the ground.
This lent we have all been making a path too! We fasted, prayed, sought forgiveness, and sacrificed our time for the Lord. Jesus came and restored a path to us and to our heavenly father. He sacrificed his life for us, so that we can return to him.
Today, we find ourselves in new territory. We thought it was a challenge before in preparation for the Lord! Then BANG, Covid 19 appears and changes our lives within weeks, shorter than our 40 days of lent. Many of us are secluded in our homes, some of us are essential workers who venture out to their work every day, and others are quarantined due to exposure. Suddenly, it became very real for all of us. We are not talking about giving up sweets or alcohol for lent anymore, we are living with drastic, but necessary measures to protect life. We discover that we are not totally in control of everything, which reminds us how life is fragile. However, in these trying times…. WE STILL HAVE JESUS! He has not left us. His very sacrifice reminds us that we too will have to carry our cross, but he will not abandon us. This is the time we pull together for us all. This is the time we do what we must to create our path to Christ by enduring this trial with all our brothers and sisters. Many of them are essential workers: physicians, nurses, heath care technicians, grocery staff, food delivery staff, clergy, teachers, and all other workers who risk their life every day to fight to help make the path clear, so we may continue on the road.
We always see great signs of love during crisis as well as despicable actions of greed by others. We need to focus on the great acts of love to help us through this time, because that is where Jesus is living. He is present in the care of a nurse or physician healing us. He is there in the grocery store worker and the delivery person bringing food to our homes, nourishing our physical bodies. Jesus is there in the priest who uses social media to make sure his parishioners are spiritually feed. He is there in the police officer who keeps us safe. He is there in the sanitation worker disposing our trash for clean neighborhoods. He is there in a teacher who imparts knowledge to children online. He is there in all that follow the stay-in-place order to make sure the illness can pass. Jesus is in all of us as we do our part. We are building that path to Christ every time we offer ourselves for the safety and well-being of another. This may be a dark time, there may be signs of selfishness and greed but look around at the light of Christ illuminating the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus teaches us not to fear but focus on him in the storm. So, in focusing on the wonderful actions of those serving others, we see Jesus walking with us in this time of trial. He never leaves us, because he is in all of us!