palm sunday

We are now in the holiest week of the year. It began with yesterday’s Mass of Palm Sunday. During it, we remembered the celebrations of the people strewing palm before the Christ. He was their hero, their savior. Truly He would lead them out from under the oppressive heel of the Roman Empire. As the events unfold throughout this week we, like the people 2000 years ago, gradually come to the realization that this is not what He came for. He is not a military leader, nor a would-be emperor. The land flowing with milk and honey is not of this earth, nor should we expect it to be.

As this week wears on, we, like the Jewish people of old, see a mild man, a gentle man, allowing Himself to be led to His death. Is this why He came? What was all that business of curing people, encouraging people, promising a better life? Just to be led to the slaughter like a lamb? Surely there must be more to His life, then this! At least, we have the advantage of knowing what is to come. The people putting Him to death had no idea what would happen in a few short days. And so, they crucify Him.

Which is a better position to be in? 2000 years ago, the people did not have a clue as to: Who or What Jesus is. Their mindset was only of this world. They saw only their needs, their desires for a better life, and so they placed their hopes in this man to lead them. And when they realized that He would meekly submit to the horrors and tortures of the crucifixion, their confidence in Him was shaken. And so, they abandoned Him.

But we, you and I, we have the benefit of 2000 years of history, 2000 years of reflective thinking by men much wiser and greater than ourselves. Our understanding of Who and What Jesus is, is tempered and molded into a belief structure that is strong and …. Wait a minute!! Did I just say, “Our belief structure”??? What do we really believe? You and I? Who is this Jesus? Is He really God? Did He come to show us how to live? How to treat others? How to live our lives? How are we doing with regard to living our lives? What we believe dictates to us, how we live. So how are we living? What is our mindset today? Do we see only our needs, our desires for a better life? This week, this holy week, is a time for us to assess just that.

Our belief… What is our belief? What do we really believe and think about Jesus? Who is He to us? Why did He really come into this world? Was there a purpose for Him to enter our world? Each of us has to answer these questions? We cannot live our lives and ignore the answers. We cannot turn our heads and view life without trying to understand the importance of these questions. For you see our beliefs will motivate and direct our lives. With no beliefs, we have nothing to guide us, nothing to point us in the right direction. We are then slaves to whatever pleases us, and makes us feel comfortable. We no longer are creatures with a mind and soul, but rather, we are robots being directed by our feelings, our desires, our wants, and our needs.

To say, “Jesus is God” and then go about the day with no further thought of Him, or its implications, is like saying, “I will buy that apple.” We don’t even know when we will bite it, or if it will go bad before we bite it. We just appropriated it, and nothing more. Belief isn’t a coat that you can put on or take off. A belief goes right to our core. It shapes us. It modifies us. It directs us. Jesus’ words to Thomas seem very appropriate right now, “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” –John 20:29

Why do we call it a “Belief Structure”? A structure is usually something that stands because it is built with, and dependent on, a strong framework. We have all heard the saying, “Show me your friends, and I will tell you what you are.” Similarly, I think we can say, “Tell me what you truly believe in, and I will tell you how you act.” Belief is the ‘be all and end all’ of our Christian way of life. It is from our belief in Jesus, that He is the Christ, the Savior of the World, from that belief, our actions are guided. A good prayer to pray is, “I believe in you, Lord. Help my unbelief.” What do you believe? What do I believe? Does our belief shape and guide our actions?

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Head or Gut,-Brain or Heart
2) Help my Unbelief
3) What Does Unconditional Love Mean to Me