The crowds preceding Him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when He entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?” And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."
It's hard to believe that it's been one year since myself and some of you joined me on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Given that last year was the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we named this pilgrimage: Walking in the Footsteps of Mercy since we were going to visit the very places in which Divine Mercy walked. It was thrilling and awe-filled to visit the places in which Jesus embraced His mission of mercy. No words can begin to describe what it was like to touch and venerate the places where the events of that first Holy Week took place. As we begin Holy Week today, we don't have to travel thousands of miles to experience these events but rather they become present for us in these Sacred Mysteries.
Today we commemorate the moment when Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem. He begins His triumphant entrance from the Mount of Olives. For the Apostles and disciples who followed Jesus from the very beginning must have been filled with excitement and enthusiasm for what they were witnessing. Even the people in Jerusalem shared in their joy with Palm and olive branches and shouting: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" Yet within four days their glee turns into betrayal and violence calling on Jesus to be crucified.
Despite the passion and sorrow encircling around Him, Jesus remained "obedient unto death." He did this all for us. Although Jesus wasn't the king or messiah that many wanted or expected, He was the one we needed. The mysteries that are unfolded before us whether here or celebrated in the Holy Land ought to empower us who Jesus is and who He is for us. His path is also our path. His way is our way. We just need to have the faith to see through the passion and sorrow of our own lives because Jesus walked for us and with us, as the Prophet Isaiah concludes: "The LORD God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced. I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame."
During this Holy Week, I invite you to join me in walking the footsteps of mercy through Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Celebrate with me these sacred mysteries of our salvation. Even if this wasn't the best Lent for you, end it strong by celebrating these sacred rites of Holy Week. Believe me, you may feel as if you were with us during our pilgrimage in walking the footsteps of mercy Himself.