for Sunday, April 14, 2019
Palm Sunday is a bipolar combination of events in the life of Jesus Christ. We commemorate his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (with palms!) and we re-present his bodily demise in The Passion. A mountain peak and a rock-bottom. Yet, the subtext of the events is the meekness of Jesus. Meekness, within the context of The Passion, is submission to the Will of God.
The Prophet Isaiah shows us that even before Christ, holy people could begin to understand that someone could give His life for others and accept suffering for others. The Lord God supported those who suffered for other, implicitly stating that His Will is being done.
The Letter to the Philippians teaches us the same lesson, adding that God is even willing to take on our humanity, to suffer with us and for us–and ultimately willing to die so that we might live. He was God, but chose an equality not "to be grasped:" from the Greek term harpagmos meaning "to be exploited for selfish gain." As Jesus is humbled and debased, He knows that He can rise above the ill-treatment at any time. But, He submits to the Will of the Father and enters into His Passion.
The Gospel of Saint Luke details how Jesus Christ died in agony. The crucified would die of blood loss or asphyxiation. Christ accepted this suffering knowingly and willingly because it was the will of His Father and out of love for us. It was through His obedience that our redemption was achieved. How terrible, though, it is to watch a person die in agony! Think of His mother who was there until the end. Some parents would rather suffer than watch their children suffer. Christ, who was God, exhibited "strength under control," or, said differently, meekness.
We enter into The Passion with Christ every year. We see its representation within our churches (The Stations of the Cross). We mourn now, but we know that His is the victory. We know that this is not the end, but the seed of a beautiful and glorious beginning for our reigning God and those who believe in Him. May we grow closer to our Lord through the suffering to which he submitted Himself to be closer to us.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 50.4-7
Second Reading: Philippians 2.6-11
Gospel: Luke 22.14 – 23.56
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: