Today is Palm Sunday. In the Catholic liturgy, that means that we open with the Gospel about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the crowds yelling "Hosanna in the highest!" and laying palm branches at his feet...the old school equivalent of a ticker tape parade. Actually, a ticker tape parade is kind of old school as well, but I digress.
As we go into the regular part of the liturgy of the Word, there are the haunting words of Isaiah, foretelling what Christ will endure. In chapter 50, v. 5: "I was not rebellious, I turned not backward." What? From the exultant crowds? No, Jesus is looking forward. He didn't just keep going through tough times, but through humiliation (v. 6): "I gave my back to those that beat me, my cheeks to those that pluck my beard. I did not shield my face from buffets and spitting." Wait.... what? Are these the same people that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem? The Gospel reading is the account of the Passion of Jesus from Mark. I love that the Psalm reading (22: 8-9, 17-20) directly references what Jesus was thinking and feeling on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" So not just the crowds, but even God?
There is so much in these readings. I was thinking a lot about the crowds. Because I am the crowds. I can get caught up in emotions and consensus just like the next person. There were probably a good number of people that praised Jesus' entry into Jerusalem thinking that they did so with good conscience. There were probably a good number of those that probably thought that they had more information and were acting in good conscience again when they were in the midst of the crowd yelling, "Crucify Him!" Some may not turned against Jesus in conviction that He was wrong, some were probably just too scared to try to go against the crowd. I wonder about those that stayed home. I could see me doing something like that. Realizing that I couldn't change the final outcome, I might have stayed home so I didn't violate my conscience or go against the crowd.