Welcome to Zambia

My name is Br Martin. I am a Capuchin Franciscan Student from Ireland and have just embarked on a four month mission experience in our Vice Province of Zambia. I will be keeping log of my progress and experiences on this blog over the next four months...you are most welcome to keep me company along the way

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Palm Sunday Reflection

We had the most fantastic Palm Sunday celebrations in Lusaka this morning. We began with the blessing of Palms and a procession of over two hundred people around the grounds and into the college chapel. African Hymns were sung along the way, drums beaten and seed shakers were shaken. When we reached the Church everybody took their places, palms raised high in the air, dancing and singing. African tribal cat calls rung out and filled the air.....Hosanna, Hosanna, make way for the King if Kings. The Lord was truly welcomed in great style and celebration.

We were asked to consider our role in the crowds we heard about, what do we shout for? do we cry for justice and righteousness or for death and division? Do we say one thing one day and another a few days later? Do we protect the innocent or condemn them? Do we shout for our needs over the needs of others?

Or are we like the donkey, who felt that the welcome and celebration was for him? Who went back to his mother, who we read he was tied to, and tells her of the great welcome he got, only to hear that that welcome wasn't for him, but for the One he carried. The same donkey who, when next he heard the crowds a few days later, ran on to the street only to be met this time not with branches and cheers but clubs, shouts for death. He ran away scared and his mother reminded him, 'without Him on your back, they don't want to know you'.

We hear of the follower in the gospel, wearing a loin cloth, who runs away naked and in doing so becomes symbolic of the extremes humanity is capable of. He symbolises the naked ambition of the Pharisees and the Jewish elders, the naked lust for blood of the crowd, the nakedness of the humiliation Jesus was subjected to, the naked heart-brokenness of Jesus' mother, the naked shame and fear of the disciples as they disappeared into darkness and denial and the naked  courage of Jesus as he fulfilled the will of the Father. He is a character often overlooked yet so rich in symbolism.

So as we tun the corner into Holy Week, we have plenty to consider in our own embodied experiences as well as the experiences of our sisters and brothers around the world.

This week let us suffer with, walk with, hunger with, weep with and be lonely, depressed and isolated with all our sisters and brothers wherever they are , just as Christ does every moment of every day.

Have a blessed day and week ahead.

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