Juxtaposition: Palm Sunday

One of my favorite words that I use at funerals for an energetic person is indefatigable. I love to say it, and I love its meaning. Another gem of a word to both pronounce and to know and feel its meaning is juxtaposition. Our word today and this next week as another Holy Week approaches.

Our beautiful Christian faith is full of juxtapositional events and colorful characters. At baptism, the priest tells the cute little baby, “die in Christ.” Ummm, welcome to the Catholic church? Simple water becomes the blood of Christ. On their wedding day, two completely separate individuals are told that they have now become one. Now. You may think this is transformation stuff, but juxtaposition is a better religious description.

Adam and Eve? Thank God they ate that darn apple. Otherwise, we would not have known of God’s visit, who continues to witness Himself within our lives. So keep sinning and then bring Jesus more closely into your lives. Speaking of which, we have that crucifixion with two thieves hanging on either side of the Son of God. One is repentant,.The other is rebellious. I don’t know about you, but that’s a typical day for me.

Then there’s that virgin/birth. Do I need to say more? I could stop right there. Oxymoron is another appropriate word, but that’s not our word today, and moving us through this holiest of weeks. And, just wait. Who needed to die not once but twice? Lazarus. Only done to prefigure the resurrection? Poor guy.

Yesterday, forty-three years the Alexian Brothers bought a troubled retirement home. They needed to buy it before bankruptcy or the residents would lose their life care plan. As a business decision, very poor, but ministerially a saving, sacred decision. Juxtaposition, anyone?

I’m sure you can think and remember your own “juxa’s.” Mine are simple. Nearing approval for ordination, several senior advisors advised against it. Nearing my soon forty-third year next month and over twenty-five years on the radio. Go figure. “And, he stutters!”

And today, we celebrate and honor the juxtapositional Palm Sunday—the day when Jesus is joyfully welcomed into the town of his lifelong, longing destination. We know the end of the story. He’s killed in that same town that welcomed him with those spreading palms, just like the red carpet on Oscar night. Those same palms are then later burnt, and then dirties your forehead with a cross as Lent begins.

Topsy-Turvy could also be another word describer, but that is not spiritual sounding. I just love the word juxtaposition because it best describes the life and times of Jesus Christ. And it best describes the lives of yours and mine.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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