On Palm Sunday, we are invited to reflect on Jesus entering into Jerusalem, greeted by joyous people waving palm branches and laying their coats on the ground for him to pass. “The next day the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,” John 12:12 reads. “They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting: ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the King of Israel!’” Yet a mere five days later in the liturgical calendar, on ‘Good’ Friday, the people turn on Jesus and execute Him for calling Himself the Son of God. The crowd’s enthusiastic welcome contrasts sharply with Jesus’s condemnation when He is sentenced to die. 

Would we cheer and shout for Jesus upon entering our city, but then shun our hearts later if it is convenient? He didn’t fulfill their preset expectations for what they thought a Messiah should be and what freedom from the Romans would look like. Perhaps they were waiting more for a political leader than a spiritual one, and ultimately did not have faith. Yet it is also true that without these human faults, the crucifixion saving act would not have been possible. Jesus defeated the human inclination to sin. To what extent is it okay to turn against a friend if public opinion of them shifts?

I associate palms with good weather and peace, but a palm frond can also be a symbol of victory, triumph, and eternal life. Christian stories allow for points of reflection innate within the human psyche. Let us remain open to the idea of needing a savior, and not harden our hearts when it is most important and not be like those who shouted “Crucify him” at his most dire moments. Today, let’s remain in the honorific happiness of Palm Sunday, praying to have our strength, mind, and souls dedicated to an unwavering principle that is higher than ourselves.

Alma Conway is a senior in Currier studying government