Deacon Stuart Neslin

Deacon Stuart Neslin is the parish administrator at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

The Christian faiths recognize this coming Sunday as Palm Sunday — the story of Jesus’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and then, the greatest story ever told the Passion of the Christ.

And our hearts break for what Jesus had to go through. An innocent man was mistreated, falsely accused, mocked and attacked. Many of us would trade places with anyone else on this earth before we would trade places with Jesus. And he did it all for us. And for no other reason other than he loves us. Imagine that.

And yet, the story is not just about Jesus. Each of us share in this same story, each of us participates in the same journey. The pattern we see in this story is also the pattern of every human life: the hopes, the dreams, the promises, the joys…and also the disappointments.

And then the next chapter, whatever that might be, a chapter which has yet to unfold, yet to be realized and yet to be discovered. That is the journey we call life which is a journey of ups and downs as well as joys and sorrows.

How will it end?

We know how we got to this point. We know the things that have nega-tively impacted us that were out of our control — the hurts inflicted by others or by illness or injury. But unlike Jesus, we also know that many of our disappointments and sorrows and struggles have come about because of bad choices we have made, those times we have strayed from the path and sinned.

And those are the very things Jesus wants to take from us. Those are the things Jesus wants to render powerless. Those are the things Jesus wants to carry up that lonely hill and rid us of. Jesus, our God and broth-er, wants to help us write the next chapter in our lives, wants to raise us up from whatever is weighing us down or holding us back. Will we let him?

Palm Sunday is the threshold of the holiest week of the year. Many of us just want to jump ahead to Easter, to the end of the story, to the fulfill-ment of God’s promises for each of us. And yet, it can’t be that way. The story we just heard shows us that clearly. And so, we are invited to wait. We are invited to trust. We are invited to take Jesus’ hand.

And we are invited to walk with Jesus wherever he leads. Even if it means we walk with him into the holy city. Even if it means we walk with him into the upper room and into the garden. Even if it means we stand hand-in-hand with him before Pilate. And even if it means we climb that hill with him in hope which says tomorrow can be better than today.

WE can be better than we are. We can be the beautiful people God cre-ated us to be and Jesus died to make possible. Who or what we were yes-terday doesn’t matter. Who we want to be today is what matters. But it’s up to us. And it starts with a single step with Jesus.

Let’s make that sacred walk this week, in this holiest week of the Church year.

Deacon Stuart Neslin is a Deacon and Parish Administrator at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rome.