Things Are Getting Worse

Monday, March 25, 2013 — Monday in Holy Week

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 956)

Psalms 51:1-18(19-20) (morning) // 69:1-23 (evening)

Jeremiah 12:1-16

Philippians 3:1-14

John 12:9-19

There are times when things are getting worse.

Jeremiah laments to God. The greedy and arrogant thrive and prosper. They have God’s words on their lips, but not truly in their hearts. Because of their deeds, even the land mourns. The fields and the animals, the entire environment is damaged. Jeremiah launches his complaint.

God says to Jeremiah that it will get worse. As bad as it seems now, there is yet more treachery to come. Because the leaders have trampled upon God’s land, God’s anger is kindled. They will reap what they have sown. But after God plucks up the nation, God will have compassion upon the nation once again. It will learn from its mistakes. Things are indeed getting worse, but God will eventually restore.

And in our Gospel story, Jesus enters triumphantly into Jerusalem at the festival of the Passover. The people wave palm branches, symbols of national triumph and military victory. They cry out with messianic expectation. Jesus rides a young donkey recalling Zechariah’s image of the coming king. People have heard the word — Jesus raised Lazarus from the tomb. It seems as though the whole “world has gone after him.”

But looks can be deceiving. We know this is the entrance to Holy Week. The same crowd which shouts “Hosanna!” will cry “Crucify him!” Things are getting worse. When the Messiah enters into the territory of the powerful, his innocence and truth meet corruption and deceit. The spin-masters of the ruling elite will manipulate the hope of the meek. Within a few days, the passions of the crowd will have been turned. They will cry out even against their own interests, condemning their very hope.

Today’s welcome looks like a good beginning for Jesus. Looks can be deceiving. Things are getting worse.

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