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April 14: Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Posted 04/14/2019 05:00AM


I have so many confessions about Palm Sunday. For a variety of reasons I love going to Mass almost as much as I love anything, but I have never really enjoyed going to Mass on Palm Sunday. As a kid, I was always turned off by reading the Passion and how long that was. I usually like a good homily, and I knew that there likely would be no homily due to the length of the gospel. Then, the gospel always felt so somber and sad. Reading through the Passion with the congregation always getting the part of screaming "Crucify him" was hard to take. I have to be honest, that as much I wanted to take something away from the Palm Sunday liturgy, I felt like I seldom did.

My second confession might border on sacrilege for some, but cause for nods of appreciation in others. Most Palm Sundays and during Holy Week, I would find part of my prayer in listening to or watching "Jesus Christ Superstar." The film came out when I was little, and I loved the music and I could relate to the characters. Jesus' followers all loved him and were deeply flawed—just like me. Watch the 1973 version of the film where Simon Zealotes welcomes Jesus on Palm Sunday to Jerusalem, and then watch the confused look he has when Jesus tells him he has no idea what power and glory are. It's spot on confusion, and I can relate! On a side note, I totally loved last year's live version that was on TV on Easter Sunday. Somewhere, I know my beloved colleague James Arinello is even more frustrated with me!

So where does that leave me, and maybe us today, on this Palm Sunday? I'll still struggle with Mass, and I am more OK with it. The liturgy however, probably hits too close to home. I desperately love Jesus, and I so want to be all in all the time. However, I just can't. I'm wonderfully human, and wonderfully flawed. And, I am still coming to terms with all of that in my 50s. What's beautiful is, I think Jesus knows that fully well and is patiently loving me through it all. Happy Holy Week. Let's pray for each other.

—Steve Ruemenapp is the Prep's director of community formation, husband and father of four.

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