He is at the entrance, let Him in

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday, the first day of the holiest of weeks. It is a day when our Lord Jesus Christ humbly made His royal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey all those years ago.

Mar 31, 2023

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday, the first day of the holiest of weeks. It is a day when our Lord Jesus Christ humbly made His royal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey all those years ago.

He entered the city with shouts for joy and rejoicing amidst a parade-like atmosphere, a celebration of sorts. A day that turns so very drastically as we journey with Him towards the end of the week.

And we all know how the story goes — the same people who welcomed Him into the city, also called out for Him to be crucified.

And then finally, we end this Passion Week with His triumphant resurrection where He is installed and reigns today as King over all the earth and heavens.

I read in an article some words that vividly describe the emotional highs and lows of this Holy Week: hosanna, confrontation, betrayal, denial, scourging, crucifixion, tomb and resurrection – “He is not here! He is risen!” – the glory of Easter.

So, perhaps Palm Sunday is a timely moment for us to pause and remember Jesus and His selfless love as He prepared Himself to die on the cross for our sins.

I wonder how Jesus must have felt, knowing that even as He rode into Jerusalem with people waving palms around Him joyfully, that He was riding to His suffering and death on the cross. If it were me, I would have turned the donkey around and headed as quickly as I could in the other direction. But such is the unfathomable love and sacrifice of Jesus.

Palm Sunday also means that we are near the end of our 40 days of Lent and, unlike previous years, I decided this year to reflect on how this Lenten season has been for me.

I think too often we set our sights on very lofty goals during Lent. We want to abstain from everything we like. We want to attend all the Masses, novenas and Stations of the Cross that we can fit into our schedules. We want to give more alms and donations to those in need.

And when we fall short (as we so often do as humans), we feel bad for not keeping up to all that we have planned and berate ourselves for not being holy enough, not being good enough.

Or we could maybe overplay our ‘holiness card’ and be the perfect Christian during these 40 days, only to revert to our old ways and overindulge once Lent is over, forgetting the Lenten call to pray, fast and give alms.

So, what has my journey been like this Lenten season? Has Jesus made His royal entrance into my heart? Have I become closer to Him during these 40 days?

Have I shared my gifts of time, money, love, and attention with those in need? Have I used the Gifts of the Spirit gifted to me? Have I abstained and fasted enough? Have I prayed or read the Bible enough?
And I find myself sadly coming up short. I have had trouble keeping the simple goals I have set.

But this year it’s different. I am not beating myself up about not having such good Lent grades.

I am, instead, revelling in how much closer I am to Him. I am remembering the moments when I felt Him during my moments of prayer, the moments when I sat alone to hear Him. I remember giving thanks and praising Him in song. I remember packing soap to sell at church for almsgiving, the fellowship and friendship made with other sisters in Christ. I remember giving time for my family, friends and children, doing things they want instead of doing things I want.

This Lenten season has also revealed my weaknesses, the areas that I can improve on, not only during these 40 days, but each and every day.

Indeed, this season is showing me more clearly that it’s not just about the 40 days of Lent. Lent is a journey that we all must take daily.

It is about working on all the different parts of us that are not that Christ-like, to acknowledge them and work on overcoming them.

It is showing me the need for me to continue to seek God’s voice daily and to be kinder and more generous with the time and gifts He has given me. It has taught me to judge myself less harshly. To be patient with myself and to try and see myself as how God sees me.

It is a reminder to realise my biases, imperfections and blind spots and seek to change myself. It is about acknowledging my sins, letting go of the things that bind me and realising that I can be redeemed by His death on the cross.

And I think most importantly, it is the calling to give everything I have to Him, to draw closer to Him and seek Him and to encounter Him and His love and forgiveness. It is embracing His salvation and seeking His reconciliation, and freedom.

Without God, we cannot make our life work. Our lives will always be meaningless and empty.

So, as we prepare ourselves for the week ahead and focus on the most important events in history, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us remember that He is at the entrance of your heart.

It is never too late to open the door of your heart to welcome Him, despite what you have or have not done — you just have to let Him in.

(Joanne Wong is on a journey towards having faith the size of a mustard seed. She welcomes thoughts and suggestions on how to have a closer walk with God. Email her at [email protected])

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