Palm Sunday always kind of messes with me because I forget about the changes at mass. Oh, I remember the procession. At my church we always line up near the pond and process around the side of the church, up the stairs and inside. But I always seem to forget that it is before mass that you hear reading the gospel story about Jesus sending his apostles ahead of him to find the donkey for him to ride into Jerusalem amidst cheers and praise from the crowds. Every year I seem to think, "Isn't this the Gospel reading? Why are we reading it now?" It's not until later that I realize that the actual gospel reading during mass is the story the Passion-the crucifixion.
The contrast of Jesus being cheered by crowds followed quickly by the scene of the the crowd calling for Jesus' crucifixion is certainly interesting. While in reality, it was a few days between the few events I think it is especially striking when you hear it in the same mass. It is powerful and you really realize how fickle people are. You can see how in one moment you can be on top of the world, receiving praise and adulation and in the next you are being crucified.
I think it is particularly interesting how the Church puts these readings together in the same mass in order for us to see this contrast so quickly. We can see for ourselves that even for Jesus things can turn sour very quickly. How many times in our own life do things change in a moments notice? We are having a great day and are top of the world and are told bad news and our world changes. We are told we are being laid off. We are being told of a death of a loved one or that we have a rare disease. Maybe something actually happens--an car wreck, a heart attack or a sports injury. Our lives changed in a moments notice.
It's important to reflect on what Jesus went through in these difficult times. It's important to remember what he went through. It's important to remember that the even after the most horrific event that that ever happened in mankind occurred--humans killing God incarnate--that the most glorious thing that ever happened occurred--the resurrection and the opening of the gates of Heaven.
Yes, things can change for us in a moments notice. But no matter how bad things are, as long as we are in a state of grace things will be better.