I Have Fixed My Eyes On Your Hills – A Meditation on Palm Sunday 2011

Palm Sunday is here and Holy Week begins. Many liturgies today will begin with a portion from Matthew’s Gospel; the I am not at home this weekend and it feels very strange to be away from my own parish community on such a day.

As I read the readings and Gospel for today, I am reminded of something very personal – the recent passing of my husband’s sister, Olga Szpylczyn. Is this too personal and far from the readings? I don’t know – it is all I can offer today. Like Jesus, Olga knew where she was headed and it was not going to be pretty. Death would not come by riding on the best horse.

Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

Olga, who was anything but meek in life began to embrace who she was as she plied her way on the journey. She did so without fanfare or remarkably without much fear. Olga, as the very hard-working daughter of extremely hard-working immigrants was used to achievement in the classic American cultural sense of the word. If she wanted to book the limo, she could. While she would not typically do such a thing, she did know that she could because she had worked hard and achieved it. She was not arrogant, but she was clear about the relationship between work and rewards as seen in our society.

Her journey into death was not the one she imagined. Will any of our own journeys into death be what we imagine? Probably not – most of us can’t or won’t imagine them until we are forced to. That is when the game change begins.

So she rode on her beast of burden as all of us who loved her surrounded her with prayer. We wanted the limo to take her back to us. She stayed on that damn ass with her eyes on the Lord. The song in the video below reminds us “though I cannot see the end for me, I cannot turn away.” She did not turn away.

There is so much more to the Sacred Scriptures for today, but all I can think of is Olga, settled in for her ride. She met death without compromise and tumbled into the arms of God.

She journeyed to Jerusalem, as we all must do. Rest in peace dear Olga.