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  • Writer's pictureFr. Gustavo

"Downtown"

Jesus sharing Himself
"Take... eat"

In 1964, the British actress and singer Petula Clark released a song that turned into a generational hit, “Downtown.”  She sung,

 

When you're alone,

and life is making you lonely

You can always go

Downtown

When you've got worries,

all the noise and the hurry

Seems to help, I know

Downtown

 

Just listen to the music

of the traffic in the city

Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty

How can you lose?

 

The lights are much brighter there

You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

 

So go downtown, things’ll be great when you're

Downtown, no finer place for sure

Downtown everything's waiting for you…

 

When Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem, forgetting about his troubles or cares was far from His mind.  Downtown Jerusalem would not be a place where things would be great, or the lights would shine brighter. 

 

Indeed, Jesus was not going in search of pretty neon signs or to listen to music.  He was going because, as He knew from an early age, He needed to take care of His father’s business.  He went into Jerusalem because it was to accomplish His calling – To die and “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

 

At his arrival to the gates, crowds sung his praises.  Once through the gates, crows would ask for his death.

 

For Jesus downtown Jerusalem didn’t mean the glitter and accolades he received at the gates.  As short-lived as they were, nevertheless, Jesus hurried on.  He had no time to lose.  His Father’s business was on the line.  So, as St Luke would write, “He steeled himself to go” for He knew what laid ahead.

 

Palm Sunday is challenging.  On the one hand we enter the church singing Hosannas.  And a few minutes later we will be hearing about betrayal, gloom, beatings, anguish, and a horrible death. 

 

And perhaps due to such dramatic transition, we may lose sight of the true spark of light that still shines.  “Take, eat; this is my body.” 

 

Yes, Jesus invites us to take him.  Not to admire him or to touch him.  Not to study him or debate his actions.  But to take him.  To take him.

 

In the words of Archbishop Jewell, whom I often quote, “He allowed himself to be embraced by us.”  How right Bishop Jewell was! 

 

For we are not invited to take hold of a piece of bread or just the physical body of Jesus.  We are invited to take hold of Jesus in his fullness.  All that he is, all that he represents, all that he strived for, and all the love he incarnated.

 

And every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the invitation is issued again – “Take, eat.” 

 

And Jesus says, “Take my life and make it yours.”  “Take me into your life.  Don’t be afraid, for I did not flinch going downtown Jerusalem where there was no light, no music, and no glitter, and only found pain, doubts, and betrayals.”

 

“So, take me to the downtown of your heart and soul so I can take care of my Father’s business in your life – bringing light and hope to your soul, comfort for your cares, and the fulness of God’s gracious love into your spirit.”  Amen.

 

Fr. Gustavo

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