Strawed in the way- religion column

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins 

The Church Kalendar provides, for us, the passing of yet another year and preparation for what is commonly called Holy Week; these days just before Easter Sunday.

It is a week fraught with joy, conflicts and indigo pathos. First, we experience the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then begin to follow the progression of His Passion.

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On Palm Sunday, in all of the celebration, there is a sense of foreboding and melancholy; as we have the knowledge of the darkness of the upcoming days.

The Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, that “place of peace,” was a triumph.

Our Lord had been abroad, spreading the Word of God, establishing the New Covenant and what would later be called the “Christian Church.” Large numbers of followers and converts assembled, and were being noticed, with growing alarm, by the Roman and Pharisaical authorities.

Indeed, He was about His Father’s business.

In our mind’s eye, we can see the large crowds on that fateful  morning. Jesus had been quite busy, after all, and was being recognized as the long-prophesied Messiah. It was a time of rejoicing and celebration, or so it seemed to the mob.

In their excitement they strew, or strawed, their clothes, blankets and palm branches, “in the way.” This was the tradition, as they honored the Son of God, and covered the dirt and stones to provide for an easier path. Yet, in their exuberation, we may be firmly grounded in the knowledge there were those present on that day, who called for Jesus’ death just a few hours later.

In a few short hours of our own days, we too will again acknowledge the Crucifixion of the Son of God, on that tree in Golgotha.

We too, in a few short hours of our days, will again acknowledge the wonderment of the fulfilling of the prophets’ words, in the glorious Resurrection of the Son of God.

Yet, in our own journey with Christ, we are to remember our place in the mob.

We delude ourselves if we believe that we are above those who gave such grand accolades on that stony Mount of Olives. Some of our days , we may find ourselves offering up all that we have in praise and thanksgiving. Other days, we may hold ourselves above what God seeks, and commands us, to give.

In a very spiritual way, we are standing by the wayside and observing the passage of the parade of our lives with God, as He gives it to us.

Our efforts may be to “strew” our own consoling words and acts of humility and love; not only for Him, but also His creatures. Notably, our efforts may be to “strew” biting words and acts of hate in our lives, and ignore our Creator and “me-first” our fellows.

Each “strawing” is known but to God, and it is to His mercy, which we are to regularly appeal. The path to Christ Jesus is the path of redemption, but only if we honor Him and “strew” ourselves before Him, each day.

Let there be no foreboding darkness, as the parade of our time with Jesus provides for eternity.