Sunday, April 5, 2020 - Palm Sunday
PALM SUNDAY (THE PASSION OF CHRIST)
“The reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our hearts on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity.”
The culture and the perceptions of our world today seems to be in contradistinction to the way of Jesus Christ. To be a true disciple (Christian) to Him is really challenging!
We live in a world where humility is perceived as low self esteem (a weakness to be taken advantage of) but not as a virtue for social relationships. We are in a society where even Christians are shy and ashamed to openly express their values and beliefs (some even hide their identity for fear of mockery). We are in an age where selfishness is the order of the day. Many are hesitant to offer true sacrifices. We don’t want to suffer yet we want to enjoy life. The focus has shifted from God to ourselves; thereby rely on our human competence and strengths. Doing our own will without acknowledging the presence of God.
It’s all about me, myself, and I. I don’t care about the other person because it’s none of my business! It has become “individual for himself; God for us all” syndrome. It’s all about name, popularity, fame, being powerful for people to kowtow to me, fulfilling my insatiable needs and desires through any means (after all the end justifies the means!)
But how can we have a better world to live in if all of these attitudes and cultures continue to perpetuate in our society (even including our relationships, families and homes) today? Of course, as humans we are social beings; we live in chains. No man is an island; we live in interdependence on one other to sustain our existence and survival. We indispensably need someone to sacrifice to save our entire society! Will you be that person?
As we commemorate this Palm Sunday of the passion of Christ, our liturgy combines a contrasting moments in the life of Jesus Christ: in one way we celebrate His glory as He is given a royal welcome into the city of Jerusalem and in another way His suffering with the drama of trial, culminating in His crucifixion, death and burial.
This is the time of the year we stop at everything to remember and relive the events which brought about our redemption and salvation. What we commemorate and relive during this week is not just His dying and rising, but our own dying and rising in Him, which will result in our healing, reconciliation and redemption.
In our first reading the prophet Isaiah foreshadows Jesus’ own life and mission. In this he preempted His identity as the redeemer and the anointed one of God who knows His purpose is to strengthen the weak and the wearied. He has to suffer at the hands of the very people for whose sake He came. Regardless of all these he never relented in doing the will of God-the Father. An exhibition of total trust and reliance on Him.
The echoes of the Psalmist, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” (Ps. 22) plunges you and me into the heart of Christ’s passion. A symbolism of an ultimate sacrifice for the expiation of our sins.
Apostle Paul in the second reading enables us to have a better grasp of who Jesus is and how his mission wrought for us salvation from sin and death. He condescended from His celestial identity to assume a terrestrial one for us to experience Him and witness His redemptive works. With humility and obedience His sacrifice became meaningful.
Our gospel reading brings to the fore the contradictory events in the life of Jesus Christ. He was given a royal welcome into Jerusalem and was made to go through His passion leading to His death and burial.
My dear family of God, what we need to reflect on deeply is the characters in the story. You can be Peter (denial), Judas (betrayal), Pilate (acting against conscience), Herod (ridicule) or the leaders (self interest). This is what we do everyday in our actions and thoughts. Do you realize what you have been doing?
But for our sake Jesus has to humble Himself to go through all of these out of love without shielding His face from buffeting and spitting to sacrifice His life on the cross so that the will of God-the Father will be done.
Just imagine if Jesus was shy, ashamed, selfish, prideful, refused to sacrifice, disobeyed the will of God, focused on Himself, relying upon Himself, just wanted a name for Himself, was not ready to suffer, did not care, what would have happened to us?
Remember it takes the good will of one person to change a situation in life. Be the Jesus of our time and age now, especially in this Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) challenging moments. Like Jesus, You need to do something!
Wish you all a happy HOLY WEEK. Though keeping social distances but not disconnected. Take precautions... Stay healthy... PRAY ... Keep up the Faith!
Love you all.
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Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.