The Crowd

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Reading I: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm: Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
Reading II: Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel: John 12:20-33

There are two Gospel readings on this Palm Sunday. Each time the Gospels are read, I am always puzzled on the change of mood that is experienced. There is a joyful singing of Hosanna when the crowd welcomed Him with shouts and acclamation, waving palms and branches, with their mantle spread on His path. Then after a few minutes, in the proper of the Mass, there is the proclamation and for some, even dramatization of the Passion of Jesus, by the same crowd shouting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.”
It is good that during this fifth Sunday of Lent, there is a need to look again at our own call to discipleship, This contrast reflects our faith life, our reaction to Christ. There are moments when we are enthusiastic about Him, about our Church and our faith, followed by moments of doubts, of rejection of certain teachings which we personally dislike because they go against our lifestyle and habits. In our time, we gauge the success of religious gatherings, such as prayer rallies, worship and healing prayer assemblies with the size of the crowd. We rejoice when so many people are touched and moved by the gatherings during Gospel proclamation and evangelizing programs. Often, we are like the palms, green and beautiful today, but dry, brown and withered in a few days. The emotional religious outpouring during the Holy Week is forgotten by many a few days after Easter. But Jesus makes us realize that we do not have to trust the size of the crowd. What is more important is how the people will be transformed and be committed to Jesus and in His service.that is to look at our call to self-emptying, our call to surrender and our call to dying to self. This is the key to what we need to do to be a good Catholic, a good disciple and a good follower of Jesus. It is in self-giving that we can have self-fulfillment. It is self-emptying that we can have the fullness of life. It is in self-offering that we can have self-worth. As Holy Week draws near, Jesus invites us to be fruitful by being willing to make little sacrifices that will make others happy and the world a better place. Only the grain that dies yields a rich harvest. As long as the grain is safe and secure, no new life is possible.
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