The lessons of Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the day when the Christian world commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In today’s practice it is also the start of the Holy Week that ends when Jesus resurrects on Easter Sunday.

The multitude of people met and followed Jesus shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9). They did this while waving branches of palms that they picked along the road and throwing their cloaks on where Jesus, riding on an unbroken colt, would pass. It was ironic that less than a week after, the same multitude would shout and ask for Jesus’ death on the cross.

This could be explained by the fact that many of those who were there were just following the mob behaviour. Some of them did not really know Jesus although many of them heard of the miracles that He has done. It was said that in the original Palm Sunday there were about 100,000 – 200,000 people who converged in Jerusalem for their annual Passover Festival and not really to await for Jesus. So their shouts of Hosanna could have been meant their displeasure over the rule of Rome and it could be interpreted as “down with Rome.”

There is some kind of a lesson that politicians can learn from the original Palm Sunday. And this, politicians must beware. Not everyone who says hosanna is a true follower. And not all who proffer their support will vote for them. The people who throw praises may be the very persons who will talk against the credibility of the politicians.

Many ward leaderswill pledge loyalty and allegiance to their candidates but in the last minutes of the campaign if the candidate can only offer a Ninoy Aquino as against the triumvirate of Vicente Lim, Jose Abad Santos and JosefaEscoda coming from the opposite camp, that allegiance will be a thing under the bridge.

On the other hand, the people and the voters will also learn lessons from the original Palm Sunday. Not all who say “ I will do this, I will do that. I will deliver this and I will deliver that” is the true leader. A lot of them can be pretending to be the prophet or the Messiah of good government. Ultimately they could be like Pontius Pilate who will wash their hands when the time of need and reckoning would come.

The best thing to do is check his or her background. Is this the “Jesus” who taught and performedreal miracles, oris this the “Judas” who will sell the country not for 30 pieces of silver but for a large sum of money taken from the coffers of government.

Incidentally today is also the second round of debate among the candidates for President in the coming May elections to be held at the University of the Philippines-Cebu. This time it will be hosted by TV 5 and another group of print media.

What will this debate bring to consciousness of the electorate? Unlike in the United States where debates play a major part in the choices of voters for their candidates, here debates like this won’t matter so much as it does in first world countries.

Organization and machinery will still be a major factor in the outcome of elections this May. But it will not be enough to make a candidate win. It will be the perception of the people on who can bring the much needed change in government and in the way people live in a society that will thrust the candidate to victory. Just like the mob on Palm Sunday, the electorate will insist on freeing the criminal if it will satisfy their craving.

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