The Liturgy of the Palms
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
The Liturgy of the Word
Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, [40-47]
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus … who emptied himself … and humbled himself … and became obedient.
- Philippians 2:5-11
I struggle with my less than admirable instincts on Palm Sunday. No matter what I know of Jesus—Son of God, God Incarnate—there is always a part of me that is briefly pleased to know he experienced a very human moment of glory in his entry into Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter that I know this is just the beginning of the journey to the cross. My very human needs take pleasure in the knowledge that Jesus was greeted, and welcomed, and adored—because my very human self would like to think that in some small way in my life I am welcomed and adored, too. The cheers and adulation feed my need to be appreciated, acknowledged, successful, and fulfilled.
What a blessing it is, then, to listen to the words in the Letter to the Philippians and to hear the reminder that no matter how human, Jesus did not live to be adored or appreciated but walked among us to share God’s love. The way Jesus walked was the way of humility and obedience—humble in the gift of God’s unconditional love, and obedient to the will of the One who created all of us. Jesus emptied himself that God might fill him. Jesus put himself last, that he might live a life of putting God first, always.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” sounds like an impossible command, something mere mortals can never be expected to achieve. Paul didn’t expect the people of Philippi to figure it out for themselves. He pointed them directly to Jesus, who emptied himself of himself and all his human weakness; who humbled himself in the realization that his life was a gift from God and meant to be lived in service to God; and who became obedient to the one intention for all of our lives: to love all creation, all the parts and people we love and all the parts and people we don’t, as God the Creator loves.
Dear God, May I empty myself to learn the mind of Jesus, that I might humbly and obediently walk in his way and live in your will.
- Marsha Vollkommer