When the disciples approached Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday and they were greeted with crowds waving palm branches and proclaiming “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” they must have thought that Jesus would be acclaimed as King. A few days later when he was being executed that hope had turned to despair as they viewed their beloved Master tried, condemned and then executed in one of the most barbarous methods known, crucifixion.
It is hard to imagine how they would have felt: disappointment, despair, bereavement, anger, terror, depression, rejection: so many different emotions! They had faithfully followed Jesus for three years and shared so many different moments with him as he went about the country, healing, teaching and working miracles. And now this man on whom they had pinned all their hopes is hanging, bleeding and mocked and dying on a cross, executed by the hated foreign invaders after rejection by his own people.
Yet little less than three days later, they realize that what they thought was the end was in fact only the beginning as the experienced the sheer joy of the Resurrection. From that moment on they will form a pivotal part of God’s plan to bring salvation to the world. And we, as their successors, are also a pivotal part of that divine plan to bring the good news of the Gospel to people who have not heard it.