Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, April 5
May Each of Us Exclaim “Hosanna in the highest!” to the God Who Has Changed Our Lives, All Out of the Profound and Unfathomable Love Which He Holds for You and Me.
Today, we begin the last leg of our Lenten journey, walking with Christ as He fulfills the will of His Father, bringing to fulfillment all that was prophesied of Him by the prophets and the writers of the Old Testament.
For almost forty days, we have been reflecting upon our relationship with Jesus Christ. It has given us time to realize that by letting go of all that keeps us separated from God, Lent actually allows us to grow closer to the Savior of the world, who freely accepted His Cross out of the indescribable and profound Love which He holds in His heart for each one of us.
In our Second Reading today, we hear what is referred to as the Hymn of Christ – “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The palms which we are given this Sunday and which you and I hold in our hands (under normal circumstances) signify our discipleship, our belief in the Eternal Word made flesh, who, through the ultimate act of His humility and acceptance of being scourged and nailed to a Cross, has given to each of us an enduring and lasting hope – hope in a joy and a peace which this world cannot give.
At our Baptism, we were truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and reborn to a sharing in His Divine Life. And in this sharing, we are each called to become co-heirs with our Lord and Savior – sharing our eternity with the God who has fulfilled His promises made to each of us, starting with the first promise made in the Garden of Eden after the fall of our first parents – “He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
But our faith is much more than just our Lenten journey. It is a journey from the moment that we first understood as a child that there is a God who truly loves us. Our life of faith has been a process of small conversions, each one bringing us closer in our understanding of who this God is, and how deeply He loves us – a Love which is beyond any true measure of human understanding or description.
Our faith has taken us on a journey bringing each of us to an understanding that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
All four Gospels of the New Testament teach us about God’s Son, this Jesus of Nazareth, who freely gave up the awesomeness and the glory of His Throne, assuming our human nature upon Himself, so that He could become one like us in all ways except sin, so that He could walk amongst us and teach us about the profound wonders of the indescribable Love and limitless Mercy which God offers to each of His children.
He became one like us so that He could, one day, suffer and die for us, so that our immortality could share in His Divinity for all eternity – a gift which we lost in Eden, but has been perpetually and forever restored on Calvary!
This year, we read from the Gospel of Matthew, as we recount the Passion and Death of Jesus – a story which begins with a journey into Jerusalem for the Passover; and we can only imagine the joy mixed with sorrow which Jesus must have felt in celebrating His final Passover with His disciples!
For three years, He had been with them, enjoyed their company, taught them, even laughed with them! He knew their strengths and their weaknesses, their quirks and idiosyncrasies – and He loved them, right to the end.
Jesus knew the time had come for Him to give up His life, but He was still able to share a meal with these close friends – a meal which would come down through the centuries as one of the greatest gifts our Lord could give to us besides His Life – and this meal was Himself, His own Body and Blood in the appearance of bread and wine.
Jesus knew that these men, these hand-picked disciples, would fall away when He was arrested. But He also knew that they would turn around and become the leaders He had formed them to be.
Peter would weep over denying Him, but then would become the rock. James and John would stop seeking seats of honor, and would instead consider placing the needs of the Church before their own lives. And Thomas would have his moment of doubt and stubbornness, but would also become a fearless preacher of the Gospel – the Good News.
Jesus also knew that His Father would hear His prayer for them – that they would hold fast to who Jesus is, and be protected from the evil one.
You and I may not have been physically present at the Last Supper, but we can still use our imaginations to place ourselves there. Imagine Jesus telling us about the gift of His Body and Blood – and linking that to His ultimate gift of His very life on the Cross.
See the expression on His face, a combination of love and determination, of sadness and hope. He knows what He is giving up for us, and He longs for each of us to respond in the deepest way possible.
Even though the Passion of our Lord happened nearly two thousand years ago, it has lost none of its power! That power is available to both you and me at every Mass – the power to change, the power to love, the power to be raised up with Jesus!
May Christ Jesus, who is our true Lord and Savior, spiritually ride into our entire being as He physically rode into Jerusalem. May His Infinite Love for each and every one of us guide you and me into changing our lives for the better – all out of our love for Him.
And may our acclamation, echoing the words of all those who praised our Lord’s entry into the city of Jerusalem, truly resonate from the very depths of our hearts, minds and souls –
“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest”!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.’” (Matthew 21:8-9)
- “Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory.” (Psalm 24:9-10)
- “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)
- “[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
- “Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
- “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28)
- “The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54)
- “For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross…” (Colossians 1: 19-20b)
- “For the sake of the joy that lay before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Almighty, Ever-living God,
You have given the human race Jesus Christ our Savior
as a Model of humility and selfless love.
He fulfilled Your will by becoming Man
and gave His Life on the Cross for Your children.
“Help us to bear witness to You
by following His example of suffering.
Guide our minds by His Truth,
and strengthen our lives by the example of His Death,
so that we may live in union with You in the Kingdom of Your promise.
“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,cf. Prayer for Passion Sunday (Roman Breviary)
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”