When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!” John 12:9-19
When I was in college I worked in a daycare with two year olds. Reading to them at nap times was one of my favorite tasks. They had several books they wanted read over and over and "Don't Be Scared!" was one of them. They loved shouting along as I read, "don't be scared!" And yet, even as I comforted my charges with that silly story, I had my own bag of fears I was clinging too. I would like to think I am brave, but the truth is, I have fears that hold me back and keep me from rejoicing every day. Fear is part of the human condition and what how we respond to that fear really can define us.
We hear today of Jesus' triumphal entry in Jerusalem. On this Monday in Holy Week, we rehearse the story from Palm Sunday and the walk through the week as the passion unfolds. One of the most common phrases Jesus repeats is "do not be afraid!" Easy to say sometimes, harder for us as humans to do. And yet Jesus walked the passion road for all of us, whether we are fearful or not. Whether we let go of fear or let fear define us, God goes before us always, interceding, taking the lashes and dying that we might live.
Today I ask God to help me identify those fears which are holding me back and give them up. May we let go of the fears that define us so that we might be wholly present as we enter deep into Holy Week.