Today’s liturgy, like much of life at times, is marked by wild contrasts. One day Jesus rides into Jerusalem in triumph. He is greeted with joyful shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The people greet the one who will fulfill all their hopes: their King, their Savior, the Messiah who will give them heaven on earth!
But within days everything changes. Jesus is betrayed by one of his closest followers; he is arrested, beaten, humiliated, tried on trumped-up charges and sentenced to crucifixion. His friends fail to comfort him in his darkest hour and his chosen successor denies him. The crowds, who days earlier cheered him, are offered a chance to pardon him; they choose a notorious thug and murderer over Jesus, crying “Crucify him!” And they do crucify him, between two common criminals.
What a wild descent in only a few days. Our lives can sometimes seem like that. As the song says, “That’s life….You’re riding high in April, shot down in May.” But notice Jesus’ calm acceptance of both the high and the low. Other than in his cry to God—“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will”—Jesus demonstrates commitment and equanimity.
This is the lesson of Jesus the man: bear all things equally; with God all things are possible.