April 5, 2020
The Gospel for today, Palm Sunday, is Matthew’s narrative of the betrayals, trial, suffering, and general chaos leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion.
Always striking is the fear and disorganization that gripped the disciples at this most pivotal time, the time when Jesus needed them he most. Falling asleep in the garden (twice!), unskillfully wielding a sword, multiple betrayals of Jesus… not to mention Judas’ evil and selfish actions. Then, scattering like a broken string of pearls after Jesus’ arrest.
One wonders, why did Jesus choose such a motley crew for his twelve? Why wasn’t one of them at his side to voluntarily help carry the cross rather than disgruntled Simon the Cyrenian?
The answer? The apostles represent us – the flawed faithful, the future of the Church.
Jesus would entrust his ministry to ordinary humans, asking them to do extraordinary things to move a radical message of life triumphing over death forward. Despite their limitations, Jesus saw something special in each of them that could overcome such shortcomings and sins.
We must believe the same about ourselves, called to follow Jesus, no matter how many times we, like the apostles, fall asleep.