The King Returns
“Once upon a time, there lived a princess, the daughter of a king. The king loved his daughter more than anything else, more than any other person or thing in his vast and beautiful kingdom.
One day the king was called upon to protect his king. He gathered his knights and together they prepared for battle. The king would have liked to take his daughter with him but he knew it was too dangerous and so he left her behind in the safety of the castle, and promised he would return to her. The king and his knights rode away to a distant land while the princess watched from a castle window until he was out of sight. She longed for his return almost as soon as he left.
Time went by and the king did not return.
After a time evil men took over the castle, they imprisoned the princess in a high tower and enslaved the people. The kingdom fell under a curse, dark clouds filled the sky and each day seemed darker than the one before it. Every day the princess would stare in the dark sky and pray for her father's return.
Eventually there came a day when the sun did not rise at all and the kingdom was plunged into darkness for three days.
Finally, on the third day, the princes saw a small light on the distant horizon. The light grew brighter and brighter until at last the entire kingdom was lit, as brightly as it ever was in the light of the sun.
As the last shadow was chased away by the light, the princess saw the king standing on the castle steps. He was tired and ragged, his armor bore the signs of many battles, his hands and feet were wounded and scarred. But his face shone with the light of love.
The princess was overjoyed, she ran down the stairs and threw herself into the arms of the king. The King embraced His beloved daughter and told her, 'do not be afraid, all of enemies are conquered, we are safe, forever.'
And on that day a sound like the sound of trumpets blasting echoed throughout the sky, and a great voice was heard to say 'Fear no more, O daughter Zion, see, your King has come.'”
It has been said that mankind has only ever had one problem; we want to be like God. Which is another way of saying we have trust issues. The Catechism of the Church tells us that all sin is grounded in disobedience toward God and lack of trust in His goodness.
Perhaps it is difficult for us to trust God because we find it difficult to trust other people. We all have friends, family, or loved ones who have let us down when we were counting on them. As a result we are wounded when people we trust fail us in matters big or small. And to avoid being wounded again we begin to build walls around our hearts to protect ourselves. The problem is that those walls can keep God out of our hearts as well.
We know that we can trust God because God has proven to us that He is trustworthy. When our first parents chose to disobey God, they lost the grace they were created with. They changed their very nature and were no longer fit to walk with God in paradise. And from them we have inherited our fallen nature.
But even then, in the very beginning, God promised that this would not be a permanent state. God promised that He would send a savior who would free us from the darkness of corruption and the enslavement to sin.
On Passion Sunday, we recall the Passion and death of Our Lord because it is through these events that God has fulfilled His promise to us. The suffering of Jesus Christ won for us a definitive victory over sin and hopelessness. We bear palm branches today as a symbol of that victory.
Our relationship to God is always spoken of in terms of family and covenant. A covenant is a family bond. A marriage, for example, is a covenant between two families. Through Jesus, God establishes a new covenant with us. In this covenant God has promised that he will never abandon us. No matter what we do, if we are willing to turn back to Him, He will always be ready to receive us in mercy, and forgiveness, and love. If we reject Him, scourge Him, crown Him with thorns, betray Him and crucify Him, He will continue to love us.
When we trust in God He will transform us into the person we know we should be.
We have a King who keeps His promises.