(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, April 9, 2017)
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Today we begin the most sacred week of the year—Holy Week.
It all begins with the Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, seated astride a donkey, with the crowd shouting "Hosanna!" and it ends with the most astounding event in history, the God-man Jesus, rising from a borrowed tomb. He rises with the light shining from the wounds of His horrible passion and death.
As our Savior rode toward His great confrontation with the powers of evil, the words of today's first reading were very possibly in His mind: / have set my face like flint, knowing that I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7)
No, the shame is ours. Our sins and those of the millions before us have brought Him to this hour. This is the week for us to bow our heads and hearts in sorrow and compassion as we put aside our daily distractions and focus on the events of the dying and rising of our loving Redeemer. We need to reflect prayerfully on the hymn that forms our second reading for this Mass:
" He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave ... he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8)"
So what is our cross?
It's the cross of responsibilities, the cross of sickness, the cross of loneliness and failure. We gain so much strength to carry those crosses when we take time this week to journey with Jesus to Calvary. Most of us feel embarrassed to cry "Crucify Him" with the palm branches still in our hands. We feel like hypocrites. Yet it was our sins which brought Him to Calvary.
The Passion Narrative of Matthew is a reminder of the ugliness of sin—Christ's betrayal by Judas, the denial of Peter, the hearings before Caiaphas and Pilate—the awful scourging by the Roman soldiers, the thorny crown jammed upon His weary head, the whip cutting slashes into His flesh, the blood running down his shoulders and back, the cursing by the crowd, the nails tearing through His hands, the thud of the cross into the ground. As He hangs on the Cross, He cries, "I thirst!" How that cry echoes down the centuries as a reminder of His search for our love!
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor