On Palm Sunday, I was given the task to raise the palms and have them blessed for our family. So I stood at the entrance of my hometown cathedral, waiting for the Holy Mass to start. As I stood there and waited, my mind took me to that ancient time in Jerusalem… I was there at the stone gates – perspiring and waiting, waiting excitedly for Him! – the one they call the Messiah! He will free us! He will free me! I have heard of His coming! So I flocked as the others flocked, with green palms in my hands, to welcome Him, my King!
We raised our palms to welcome our King, yet we chastised him few days later… We raised our voices shouting Hosana, yet we condemned Him to die a criminal’s death when we cannot accept the truth of His kingship…
His kingship is paradoxical: his throne is the cross; his crown is made of thorns; he has no sceptre, but a reed is put into his hand; he does not have luxurious clothing, but is stripped of his tunic; he wears no shiny rings on his fingers, but his hands are pierced with nails; he has no treasure, but is sold for thirty pieces of silver. [Pope Francis’ homily, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, 20 November 2016]
I am back in the present, in my hometown cathedral, wearing modern-day clothes. O how fickle-minded am I, my Lord!… A lump was slowly forming in my throat. I tried to suppress my tears and my eyes started to moist. Sprinkles of holy water touched my arms and my face… Other mass-goers raised their palms and began shaking them, as if they were the people of Jerusalem. As I raised my palms, I offered up my sins, my weaknesses, my shortcomings. O my King accept them! Do not shun them away!
The cathedral bell rang, and the priest started to read the opening rites.