From triumph to the cross

March 29, 2015 – Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1-15:47
Fr Fernando Torres, CMF
Claretian Publications

Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday. There are two names for the same reality. This Sunday starts with a festive tone. We remember the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. For once, Jesus is acclaimed by his people. He is recognized as the new David, the king everyone expected. His entrance, of course, is not like that of a king of those times. He is mounting a donkey, which is not exactly what kings ride.

Those who acclaimed him belonged to the lower classes. It is unlikely that there were priests or scribes among the crowd. The priests and scribes were probably thinking of how to get rid of him. Thus, triumph and cross started being mixed, in the same way that the liturgy unites these two realities today.

From the procession we move into the Mass, where the readings bring us to the death of Jesus and its meaning. Jesus is the one who gives himself up for death in order to fulfill the will of God, his Father. He totally trusts God in the hour of his final surrender, as the prophet Isaiah says in the first reading.

Jesus is the same God who gives his life for us, who does not brag about his divine condition, who subjects himself even to death. It is through this surrender that he will become the sign of salvation for all. Every knee shall bend before him, as Paul says in the second reading.

Thus we start Holy Week. This is the great door where we place ourselves. For Jesus, the greatest triumph is the moment of his death. What for us is the greatest pain, the greatest meaninglessness, for God is an opportunity to express love for all people in the most solemn way possible.

We don’t know what is more triumphal: the entry on a donkey in Jerusalem while some poor people shout and wave palms, or the moment of the cross when, alone and abandoned by his friends, he signs with his own blood that all his life he has wanted to be at the service of the reign of God. He has wanted to be a living witness of love for all men and women, and his self-giving is so that all of us may have life and life in abundance.

At least for this week, let us remain by Jesus’ side. Let us be in silence, but close to him. Let us be there letting our hearts be open to the depths of his love and his surrender for us, so that we may have life and have life in abundance.

For reflection
-What issues in you neighborhood or community do you have the power to do something about?
-What organizations are there to help? What parish groups?
-How can you dare speak up for justice? How do you work for a better world?

 

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