It all started with a triumphant procession...a King Who had come to change the world, to save the Jews ~ indeed, to save all mankind ~ and to bring all to His glory. But there was a catch: He was not of the same world, and therefore, His mission was not as obvious and as "simple" as hundreds of years of waiting had led them to believe.
He was a King of a kingdom unseen. He was the Lamb sent by God the Father to suffer and die so that all mankind, before He came, during His lifetime on earth, and all those who were to come after Him, ALL mankind could be saved. And a fortunate few who were "in on the secret" were blessed with the Faith and the vision to follow Him to the bitter end.
Happily, then, there were others who, just as He died or soon afterwards, were so totally convinced of His true identity that they went on to become Christian and many actually were martyred. The very Centurion who stabbed Him in the heart, the Thief who hung on a cross right next to Him, the Pharisee who gave up his own grave to hold the Sacred Body ~ and many others ~ are now numbered among the Saints of Heaven!
Such is the greatness of the mercy of God!
But before all this could come to pass, He had to undergo the suffering and death willed by His Father. Such was His humility and total obedience, even tho' He is God Himself, He agreed to this Plan for our salvation...and this Holy Week serves, as always, as a reminder of all that He went through so long ago ~ and indeed, of all that we owe Him!
When He stood before Pilate, and was told what He already knew, He showed no reaction. A mere man would have fallen down in a faint, at the very thought of such a tortured death. Even if he knew ahead of time that it was the will of God, it would take the strength of the very Angels themselves just to stand!
And this brings me to my present day. I have to think, as I sit here, that I have never actually shown Him enough gratitude.
I know, deep down in my heart of hearts, that I love Him with all my heart. But is that enough? Do I remember every day of my life what He endured for my salvation? Do I tell Him, "Thank-You, Lord, for saving me!" Do I moan and groan in my mind at every small sacrifice?
Or do I take it all on, not only with humility and submission, but with actual joy ~ that as He has done so much for me, I might be allowed to do something for Him?!?
Do I enter into every day of my life with a spirit of obedience to His holy will, no matter what might happen during the day, no matter what I might be called upon to sacrifice for His greater glory ~ that I will be allowed to perform even the smallest task with a spirit of trust and submission ~ every day becoming an actual prayer?!?
This is what I try to do...whether or not I succeed is His to judge. At the end of the day, I try to think of anything I might have done, or not done, that would show a lack of gratitude for what He went through for me. I would sincerely hope that there would be very little I would find that is not pleasing to Him, but knowing me and my meager state, I am sure there is quite a bit that He would tell me I could improve upon.
I will continue to end each day the same way...before I lie down to sleep, I will ask Him to enlighten me with His thoughts and thank Him for all that He has done.
I know what the Saints have done...sadly, I have a long way to go. As the expression goes, the longest journey begins with a single step, and I embark upon a journey that begins this Holy Week.
His joyful procession continues for me...I call out to Him, "Hosanna, Son of David, Son of Mary, Son of the Eternal Father!"
His kingdom is not of this world, true, but in the world to come I hope to be there with Him...hopefully He will judge me worthy! This Holy Week, all that I end up offering to Him as grateful sacrifice will be acceptable to Him.
By the time we welcome Easter we will have journeyed with Him through His Passion ~ and we will be raised with Him to go to the eternal kingdom that was never of this world...but the next!
May we all, by His grace and mercy, be judged pure and worthy in His sight.