Our Triduum Crowd — Palm Sunday—Year A

On Palm Sunday, the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as a hero.  On Good Friday, the crowds will clamor for His death. How do we explain this dramatic switch from love to hate? It might be that the mob had become infatuated with Jesus, thinking that He was going to be the earthly messiah of their dreams, the one who would force the hated Romans out of their land and reign as a new and greater King David. Perhaps the crowd realized that this wasn’t Jesus’ plan, and then angrily turned on Him like a lover spurned, hating Him for disappointing their high hopes.

Another possibility is that we are seeing two different crowds, made up almost entirely of different people. Perhaps the chief priests and the Pharisees had assembled a mob around them of those they knew they could easily manipulate. They had arrested Jesus late in the night and brought Him to Pilate early the next morning. Perhaps many of Jesus’ the Palm Sunday supporters had no idea what was happening until Jesus was already in the tomb. Perhaps the next day many of them said, “I wish I had known! I would have been there for Jesus!” Or perhaps they did hear about what was afoot, but had already disowned Jesus for disappointing their messianic dreams. Maybe some people said, “Jesus of Nazareth? I’m too busy to be bothered with Him anymore. I’ll keep my distance, and see how this thing plays out in the end.” Whatever the reason, the crowd that turned-up for Jesus’ trial was short on those who loved Him.

The liturgy of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil (what we call the Easter Triduum) is our greatest celebration in the Church. It’s bigger than Christmas and Jesus invites you to be there. Jesus invites you to attend his last meal and to keep watch with Him Thursday night, to accompany Him through His Passion and to reverence Him on the cross, and to keep vigil at His tomb Saturday night and to be the first witnesses to His resurrection. If you truly cannot make it, Jesus understands, but if you would come here to join this crowd accompanying Jesus throughout these holy days, it would please Him, very much.

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