In Christian Counseling or Spiritual Direction, the week prior to Palm Sunday should emphasize a few Lenten themes.
Christian Counseling and Palm Sunday Themes
First, one can see the materialistic and worldly ideals of the Jews as Christ enters Jerusalem. They are expecting a Messiah that will usher in a new golden age for Israel that will relinquish the Romans and raise Israel above all other nations. The reality is Christ did not come to undo the chains of the Romans but to free the Jews and Gentiles from a greater tyrant whom was Satan. The spiritual drama that was unfolding was far greater than what the mere eyes of the Jews thought they saw. Yet the inferior worldly expectations of the Jews would transform Christ from a liberating hero to a despised criminal. Shouts of adoration would be replaced with curses of rebuke and the cross would replace the crown.
In reflection, one should consider what expectations do we have from this world? Do we expect a worldly kingdom of riches as the Jews did? Has the Great Fast purged these worldly desires from our souls or do material goods still dominate the greater good which is spiritual?
If anything, the Great Fast should have in the very least opened our eyes to a deeper reality that is beyond the mere physical world. The Great Fast or Lent should have deepened our spiritual eyes to see beyond the illusions of this world. Our fasting and sacrifices should have strengthened our will over our physical urges thus reinforcing the superiority of the spiritual realm over the temporal. In walking with Christ these Forty days, the palms in our hands should wave in adoration for what Christ has given us spiritually not physically.
Finally, where will we stand at the end of the week? Will we wave our palms this Sunday and then after Easter return to our old ways? Will we boast like Peter, and proclaim our love of Christ but then at the end of the week, deny him? Will we stay awake for that one hour with Christ in the garden, or later fall asleep? Instead, let us hope that our Lenten gains will not be superficial as the false praise of the Jews, but instead be true and strong long after Palm Sunday. At the end of Lent, will our sacrifices be fruitless, or will we stand with Mary, John and the Holy Women at the foot of the cross to the very end?
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