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March 27, 2021
A Reflection for Palm Sunday
From the Christian Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
A few weeks ago, Pope Francis visited the City of Mosul in Iraq. There was much debate as to whether or not the Pope would or should visit the former center of ISIS terrorism. The war-torn people of the city rejoiced when Francis arrived. He said he would go, and he did.
Remember the time someone surprised you by “showing up” for your Birthday Party. Remember how important it was when you unexpectedly showed up at a friend’s wedding or other special events. Your presence caused much joy and happiness.
When parents promise their child they will attend their basketball game, it is heart-breaking if they don’t attend. Children love it when the important people in their lives take the time to be with them.
One famous person said, “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.” Alcoholics Anonymous encourages people suffering from addiction to show up at meetings. It is more than crucial to be with someone in a time of need or hurt. Our presence one to another is often the greatest gift one person can give another. No one needs to be alone.
If you examine the lives of great people, they were there for others. The baseball player who visited children in the hospital, the President who visited the site of a tragedy, the doctor who made a house call, the minister who stopped to help are all examples of what it means to bless others with our presence.
The Gospel of Mark focuses the Palm Sunday events on Jesus who comes to the streets of Jerusalem. Before telling the story of Jesus in the Temple precincts, Mark lingers in the streets with the people who are overwhelmed by the visit of Jesus. The children started singing “Hosanna” as Jesus entered the Beloved City, which was the center of his Universe and the location of so much hurt and anxiety.
His presence honored them. His words reminded them of their duty to be generous to one another. His actions protested the oppression of imperial rule. His walking with the multitudes offered hope to a people who longed for their freedom from tyranny and injustice. His presence in the streets with the people of old still touches our hearts today, inviting us to be with one another in our time of need.
Think of how often we have heard the powerful words, “It is my pleasure and blessing to be with you today.” We must never forget how important we are to one another. We must never forget what it means to be there for one another. Think of how Grandma’s eyes light up when she sees her grandchildren.
The next time you walk down a street, turn it into an opportunity to be present to everyone you meet. You “showed up.” Who knows someone might break into song when they see you? We might never know how important we are to another person. We must respect every time we find ourselves in the presence of another. Remember, wherever you go, there you are. May wherever you are be a blessing as you offer hope and comfort to everyone you meet.
Thank you, Holy Community, for being there for one another.