Thursday 5 April 2012

Hosanna: What Does My Love for Christ Inspire Me to Do?

By Brother Daniel Leckman, S.J.

On Sunday, I looked at my calendar for the umpteenth time this week, fully aware that my work load was not getting any lighter, and that I should be stressed; incredibly stressed. And yet, I did absolutely no work that Sunday morning. I slept in, made bread for the community, and at around 10:30 am I headed out, in a rainy Toronto day, to partake in a very special celebration.

As I was walking, I entered a prayerful expression of gratitude to our Lord for this special day, Palm Sunday. This day is meaningful for me for one reason: We spent all of Lent abstaining, sacrificing, and staying away from stuff we love in order to get closer to Our Lord. Not that our Lenten days should be considered as sad and mournful, but try walking around with a big smile on your face when you only have one day a week of meat and chocolate for more than a month!

Sunday was a renewed opportunity to celebrate God with all our hearts. This meant I was more than ready to channel the joy the people of Jerusalem must have felt when they saw Christ entering into their city and spontaneously began singing their Hosannas to him.

But there was no spontaneous shout of joy from me, just a meditative walk with Christ through the city. I walked with Him through a city that clearly couldn’t be bothered about this wonderful day in our liturgical calendar. Oh, but I wasn’t going to let the secular world and its lethargy to connect to something deep and spiritual get me down. I felt joyful peace in my heart around my conversation with Christ. I imagined Him, arriving into our big city as he arrived in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, with people lining up to see him; to get a glimpse of His ‘majesty’ and sing out their undying devotion to him.

At that point, I imagined Jesus turning to all of us, and saying, “I am glad to hear your love expressed for me. Now, can you tell me, what do you plan to do with that love?” I wasn’t expecting that question!! I just wanted to passively celebrate that day. I wanted to party like the good folk of Jerusalem did when they saw him, and go back to my essay writing. I wanted to see him too. I wanted him to come testify about the love of God to us all, and to help restore humanity’s hope for a better world. But I was being called to do all of this. “Yes Brother, please tell me: what will you do with that love you say you have for me?” I had no answer.

So, I made my way through “Philosopher’s walk” and saw the Newman Centre’s crowd slowly gathering for their small procession. I was planning to walk behind quietly, let my reflections continue, but as they saw me, they handed me a big palm branch, and asked me to be one of the leaders of the procession. Again, Christ other plans for me: “How will your love for me lead my people and inspire them to greater intimacy with me?” So, I got to wave my big palm branch for Christ after all.

As we processed to the Church, we were greeted by many strange looks on the streets, even a few hostile ones. But all I could feel inside of me was the depth of his love becoming stronger, and calling me receive the fullness of the joy he offers to us everyday.

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