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I never thought of our Palm Sunday processions in terms of a great misunderstanding. As I was mind-walking about Palm Sunday, a former colleague sent me a joke making the rounds of the internet. Here is the version I received.

The second text message

The first message

Hi, Morris. This is Saul, next door. I’ve been riddled with guilt for a few months and have been trying to get up the courage to tell you face-to-face. When you’re not around, I’ve been sharing your wife, day and night, probably much more than you. I haven’t been getting it at home recently… I can’t live with the guilt & hope you’ll accept my sincere apology and forgive me.

Please suggest a fee for usage and I’ll pay you. 

– Saul. 

Morris,immediaately feeling enraged and betrayed, grabbed his gun, went next door, and shot Saul dead. He returned home, shot his wife, poured himself a stiff drink and sat down on the sofa. Morris then looked at his phone and discovered a second text message from Saul.

The second test message

Hi, Morris. Saul here again. Sorry about the typo on my last text. I assume you figured it out and noticed that the darned Spell-Check had changed “wi-fi” to “wife.”  Technology, huh? It’ll be the death of us all.

Certainly, a case of jumping to conclusions!!

The greatest misunderstanding

Today, many misunderstand Jesus!

  • Some think he was a good teacher, man, or even a prophet.
  • Others believe that Jesus takes away all our problems when we follow him.
  • While others believe Jesus only hears and answers prayer when he gives us what we ask for.
  • Still others believe the cross and talk of the resurrection are foolish.

Misunderstanding Jesus is nothing new.

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is the misunderstanding of all misunderstandings!

They saw the miracles he had done. People assumed he was a king like other kings. He would use his power and might to restore Israel as an independent nation. So, they spread out the red carpet as they might have for a King. They did not understand who he was!

Who could blame them?

One of their favorite songs…

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing…” Psalm 150:1-6

A beautiful song, but …their vision was not big enough!

Jesus, the King of Kings, came to deliver all from a life of self-centeredness, not to deliver Israel from the Romans.

He told all who would listen who they were. They were sons and daughters of a God who first loved them! There was no need to earn God’s love… in fact, we could never “earn” God’s love. “God has first loved us!” He asked them to rejoice in God’s love… and live as loving sisters and brothers, imitating the God who loved them so much.

They missed his heart for those who failed to believe in Him – No wonder Jesus, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.”

Are we much different than the people waving the branches of our self-centeredness?

How different are we?

  • Do we wave the palm branches of our self-seeking prayers “give us this day our daily bread” (or whatever it is we want)?
  • Or do we believe and live as sisters and brothers who, forgiven our trespasses, forgive the trespasses of those who trespass against us.

Click below for an early version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

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