Most unsuspecting Catholics will come to Mass today and react in horror when they realize that we will read the Passion. “Oh, no!” they think, “this will last forever I will have to stand for so long!”
Yes, such is the burden of Catholics on Palm Sunday, why does the Church torture us so much?! I am being a little sarcastic here, but there are those who do feel this way, perhaps because this extra time infringes somehow on their plans for the day. Christianity can be inconvenient at times and basically get in the way other times. You would think Jesus would be a little sensitive to our schedules and needs. (More sarcasm)
Once we get over the shock of realizing we are reading the Passion today, we come to our senses and realize this extra time and effort we offer, pales to the suffering and pain Jesus endures for us. Perhaps in some small way we appreciate Jesus’ own suffering as we stand and recite our parts of the Passion.
The Church, not only asks us to take the time and the effort of reading the Passion today, but also asks us to say the most uncomfortable things said to and about Jesus. It is disturbing to have to say words like, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” It is deliberate that we are asked to say these horrible things, it is meant to put us in the story and also to feel the story. Saying these things also helps us realize our own part in crucifying Jesus when we sin and are selfish.
Perhaps today, as we stand a little longer and spend a bit more time in prayer, we can offer up our “suffering” and inconvenience to the One who died for each and every one of us. In the end, standing for awhile is a small price to pay for the act of love Jesus gives to all of us.