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  • Sarah Raad

Detention

God Himself has done my detention for me.For HE has suffered for MY sins – He has paid the price for me.

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Anthony van Dyck)

Once a week my eldest high-school-aged son needs to take his sports uniform to school in his sports-bag so that he can change into it for his practical PDHPE lesson during the day.


The other day – although the sports-bag was all packed and ready to go – my son accidentally forgot it at home. Possibly the worst part of the whole thing was that he only realised that it was forgotten when he was getting ready to step onto the school bus and it was too late for us to go back and collect it for him…


“What will happen now?” I asked him as he flagged down the bus.

“I will probably get a detention Mum.” Came his forlorn reply.


Now, although I am tough, even I do not like seeing my children upset when they have simply made a mistake. And so, on that day, I thought about whether I could manage to drop the sports-bag off to my son at school. However, if I drove 20minutes to school with his bag to drop it off and then drove 20minutes home again after dropping it off for him, I would have spent the same amount of time driving to save him as the time he would be given in detention that day. In any case, on that particular day, I was particularly busy with work, and I simply did not have the time to drop off the bag. Also – or so I reasoned to myself – this would be an excellent (albeit uncomfortable) learning opportunity for my son. Hopefully remembering this inconvenience would help him to remember his sports-bag for all his other practical lessons while he was at school. And so it was that I did not drop that bag off for him that day – despite feeling guilty about it.


And I have been thinking about that detention ever since that day, because it reminds me of Our Blessed Lord’s journey into Jerusalem on this day – Palm Sunday…


You see, He took that journey for me – He took it for you too…


Christ walked into the city of Jerusalem on this day and listened to all the adoration and all the praise and He thanked them for their homage. He – knowing that these same souls would soon put Him to death – did not scorn the hypocrites. He did not even cast a darkened eye upon them, knowing that while they shouted “Hosana! Hosana!” now, they would soon be crying, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Christ did not look at the faces in the crowd with contempt. In fact – He did not despise even those apostles who would betray and desert Him on the very night that they actually did betray and desert Him. Instead, on that night, He instituted the most blessed sacrament of of the Most Holy Eucharist – He GAVE them (and gave us) His BODY AND BLOOD that very night so that He would remain with all of those souls who deserted Him and who continue to desert Him…


No.

He did not scorn or despise. He did not even reject or close Himself off from those souls in the crowd. He did not even withdraw... Instead, He embraced them and loved them – all of them – just as He embraces and loves me, despite my million different decisions and revisions that cause me to offend, despise and scorn Him…

You see, just as my son did by forgetting his sports-bag, we have EARNED that detention. We – through sin – have earned the PERMANENT detention of eternal damnation, which is our eternal death in Hell. And yet – it is not we who are spending the 40minutes inside the detention room during lunchtime, as my son did because I was too busy to drop off the bag for him. No. God does that for us…


We say it in the Nicene Creed during Mass when we proclaim… “He descended into Hell…”


You see, God spent those 40minutes driving to and from the school with our sports-bag. And that means – effectively – God Himself has done my detention for me. For HE has suffered for MY sins – He has paid the price for me.


And He did it willingly, with love and with a smile. He did it sitting on a donkey and stepping over palm branches while He listened to the crowd shouting “Hosana!” when He knew that they would soon shout “Crucify Him!”. And He did it with infinite LOVE, as He walked straight into the arms of His executioners…


And He did it for love of me.


How could I possibly find the words to explain the implications of that?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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