APRIL 5, 2020
Readings: Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66
With this celebration of Palm Sunday, we begin a week of a lot of activity, a week of much tension, anguish and turmoil, a week of experience of various sentiments culminating in a sense of GREAT RELIEF.
But, where are those who sand in great jubilation, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest”, when others shouted ‘crucify him, crucify him’, when Barabbas was preferred to be released and not Jesus; where were they when he was thirsty and instead of giving him something to quench his thirst, they gave him a sponge soaked with vinegar? It is easy to sing Hosanna and then disappear in the midst of suffering, agony, passion and crucifixion.
We hold palms in our hands, walk in procession acclaiming Jesus as our King. But with whom are you identifying yourself this week – with the twelve disciples at the Last Supper, with Judas Iscariot, with those who disputed who was the greatest among them, with Simon who said, “Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death”, but later denied him three times, with the three closest disciples of Jesus who could not keep awake while Jesus was going through agony on the Mount of the Mount of Olives, with Judas who betrayed him with a kiss of 30 pieces of silver, with the maid who said referring to Peter “This man also was with him”, with the cock ho crowed, with those who mocked him, beat him and humiliated him, with the chief priests and scribes, with Pilate who washed his hands, with Herod who had long desired to see him, with those who preferred Barabbas to Jesus, with those who cried” Crucify him, crucify him!”, with Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus to carry His cross, with the women who bewailed and lamented him with Veronica who wiped his face with a cloth, with the criminals who were crucified beside Jesus, with the criminal who mocked him with the criminal who prayed, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power”, with Joseph of Arimathea who helped lower the body of Jesus, with John the beloved disciple who took Mary as his other of Jesus who accompanied him throughout his agony, passion and death? This week, you cannot be a passive spectator. You have to be involved in the happenings of the Holy Week. But what is your part, your place and role in this?
Identify your place and role and show to the world where you stand in relationship with the Suffering Servant, with your creator and Savior. What is going to be your focus this week – Easter Eggs or your conversion returning to the Lord, repentance, believing in the Good News of Jesus, confession of your sins, wanting forgiveness and reconciliation? Are you prepared to keep your gaze on Jesus who keeps looking at you with both his hands stretched on the cross as a sign of wanting to embrace you and the entire humanity in love, forgiveness and reconciliation? What is your response to him? Will it result in change of heart, change of life, change of behavior, transformation of your relationships for the better? Choose between salvation and damnation, between eternal life and spiritual death, between Christ the Light and Devil the Darkness, between pride and humility, love and hatred, between the Gospel of Joy and the Sad News of Despair and earn your reward accordingly.
Let me place before you one thought: Before the triumphant entry into Jerusalem Jesus instructs two of his disciples, ‘Go to the village there ahead of you; as you go in, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that the Master needs it’ (Mathew 19:31). Commenting on this Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “Perhaps no greater paradox was ever written than this – on the one hand the sovereignty of the Lord, and on the other hand his “need.” This combination of Divinity and dependence, of possession and poverty was the consequence of the Word becoming flesh. Truly, he who was rich became poor for our sakes, that we might be rich. Our Lord borrowed a boat from a fisherman from which to preach; he borrowed barely loaves and fishes from a boy to feed the multitude; he borrowed a grave from which he would rise and now he borrowed an ass on which to enter Jerusalem. Sometimes God preempts and requisitions the things of man, as if to remind him that everything is a gift from him.” (Fulton J Sheen, The Life of Christ)
What do the various characters mentioned above awake in you? What does the Lord want to borrow from you?
God Bless you. Have a wonderful PALM SUNDAY.
Fr. Michael Dias