It’s Palm Sunday! Which means today’s Gospel at church was the long gospel where we hear about the last days and hours of Jesus’ human life. Where we shout out “crucify him” in imitation of the crowd — and in recognition of our own sin for which He died.
This afternoon, the Bible opened to the book of Wisdom. It is a long section, so I will break it up a bit:
For, not thinking rightly, they said among themselves:
“Brief and troubled is our lifetime; there is no remedy for our dying, nor is anyone known to have come back from Hades. For by mere chance were we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we had not been; Because the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and reason a spark from the beating of our hearts, And when this is quenched, our body will be ashes and our spirit will be poured abroad like empty air. Even our name will be forgotten in time, and no one will recall our deeds. So our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and will be dispersed like a mist Pursued by the sun’s rays and overpowered by its heat. For our lifetime is the passing of a shadow; and our dying cannot be deferred because it is fixed with a seal; and no one returns.
What a very sad way to think of life. How very sad and desolate must it feel to not believe in God. To not know that there is so much more to life than what we experience here on earth.
Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are here, and make use of creation with youthful zest. Let us have our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no springtime blossom pass us by; let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither. Let no meadow be free from our wantonness; everywhere let us leave tokens of our merriment, for this is our portion, and this our lot. Let us oppress the righteous poor; let us neither spare the widow nor revere the aged for hair grown white with time. But let our strength be our norm of righteousness; for weakness proves itself useless.
When it is put this way, it is easy to see why some who do not know God, have no care for those around them. Why not enjoy life and center on me — if this is all there is…
But then what is my excuse when I fall into similar behavior? Is this what is meant when they say that sin pulls us away from God? Because if I believe, as I do, that God is present, and that there is life after death, then when I act out of selfishness or out of me-centeredness, I am surely acting as though I believe this is it — I am acting as though I do not believe that there is much more waiting for me. I am not trusting God, not trusting that following Him is better than doing something for me or doing something for immediate gratification.
Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us; he opposes our actions, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD. To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us, Because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways. He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the righteous and boasts that God is his Father. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him in the end. For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With violence and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him. These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them,
This sounds very much like the crowd taunting Jesus at His death.
And they did not know the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense for holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward. For God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it.
Thank you for this beautiful day! I am not worthy of it. Thank you for sending us your only Son, to show us what true love, true selflessness, true faith and trust in you is. Help me to remember that this is not my home. This life is only temporary and is just a small part of your plan. My home is with you! Guide me with wisdom that can only come from you! Help me to reject the devil. Bring me close to you always.