Palm Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

As we enter Holy Week we will be confronted with the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Without a doubt the Passion is the most difficult part of the Gospel to think about and accept.  On the one hand we know that the Passion is central in God’s plan of salvation.  It is as if Jesus has a job to do and so he’ll do it.  On the other hand we can feel weighed down by the sadness that the one we are coming to love must undergo so much suffering and even death.  I think in both cases we can miss what God is truly doing and saying.  In the Second Reading St Paul tells us how God has emptied himself in Christ, how he took “the form of a slave” and accepted death, even death on a cross.  The question I wonder about is why God would empty himself in Christ and why God would accept death on a cross?  We want to get to the resurrection as cleanly and as quickly as we can.  We want to know eternal life not just in the world to come but in the lives we live now.  

The path to eternal life, however, has to go through Calvary.  When Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he is arrested for me.  When he is interrogated and mocked, it is for me.  When he is scourged and crowned with thorns, again it is for me.  When he struggles to carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, it is for me.  When he is crucified, he is crucified for me.  In the depths of our hearts we have the same fear as Adam and Eve, because we have sinned we have to hide ourselves from God.  We can think in a way that God wants some distance between us and him. And yet, with the Passion we can see how groundless our fear is.  From his entrance into Jerusalem until his last breath at Calvary, the Lord is loving in what appears to be an almost a reckless way.  Every moment he has an out – not to enter Jerusalem but to go back to Galilee; to deny who he is; to go to a different garden; or to have angels protect him.  But all he does is simply love.  

As Christians seeking to be disciples, we find our discipleship emerges and grows from the Lord’s reckless loving.  As the Lord is lifted high on the cross our horizon eternally expands.  We can see God and we can see ourselves.  We see that God is love and is loving no matter the cost.  And we see that we are loved by him no matter what.  And so, our Holy Week is marked by a gentle peace.  The fear of God within our hearts is slowly and carefully begin dismantled and is being replaced with the love of the Father in Christ Jesus.  The whisper in our hearts no longer says, "I am scared of him" but rather "his love is true."

God Bless and Take Care,
Fr John

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