12 Apr PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
Dear friends in Christ,
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday with a double focus, the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the Story of Jesus’ Passion and Death.
Today, the procession with palms into the church invites us to experience Jesus’ march on that first Palm Sunday and making it an event still being lived. In St. Luke’s account, it is the disciples who “helped Jesus on to the colt” and they themselves entered Jerusalem alongside Jesus. This suggests that whenever we decide to confront evil and be faithful to the Gospel values, Jesus is once more entering Jerusalem, and we with him.
The second part of today’s liturgy is the Passion Reading. There are times when we like to hear only the “Good News” and leave out the “bad” ones like suffering, sacrifice, penance, and the cross. But while the world constantly tells us to respond to bad news with denials and avoidance, Christ does not hesitate to preach about the bad news along with the good and thus teaches us how to deal with them.
In the Liturgy of Holy Triduum we will witness the total self-giving of Jesus by which he trusts himself entirely to the Father’s will. On Holy Thursday, we join Jesus in the Last Super to receive his gift of himself in the Eucharistic bread and wine. The Passion narrative proclaims the great events of Good Friday. Upon Mount Calvary, God the Father sacrifices his Son, Mary sacrifices her son, and Jesus sacrifices himself. On Saturday, we remember in silence around Jesus’ tomb the injustice and cruelty of sins for which he died.
Only a few of Jesus’ disciples were able to climb and willing to remain on his Mount of sacrifice. It’s easier to praise Jesus on Palm Sunday but it’s more difficult to share in his suffering and the cross on Good Friday.
Why did Jesus suffer so much? The answer is in the words of Isaiah, “On him lay the punishment that brings us healing, through his wounds ae are made whole.” May the grace of Jesus’ Passion bring healing to us.