Dear Friends! Being the Passion Sunday, I don’t want to begin with any joke. Let us pause for a moment to reflect on the passion and the sufferings of Jesus. What we commemorate and relive during this week is not just Jesus’ dying and rising, but our own dying to sin and rising in Him, which will result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption.
The crowd which welcomed Jesus with such enthusiasm during his entry into Jerusalem would turn against him so quickly within days and demand his crucifixion. It was easy to be part of a crowd that welcomed Jesus and it was easy to be part of a crowd that condemned him to death.
For us also, it is easy to be part of the crowd that receives First Holy Communion. It is easy to be part of the crowd that receives Confirmation. How many of that crowd come to meet Jesus during Mass every Sunday? It is easy to be part of the crowd that puts on an impressive display for a funeral or wedding or a baptism. How many of that crowd come to meet Jesus on every Sunday? It is easy to be part of the crowd. But in the account of the Passion the crowd was not there for Jesus when he needed them most. The crowd did not go to the cross. The crowd abandoned Jesus. Only a few women and John went to the cross. So much for the crowd!
How can we not hear the account of Jesus’ Passion and not be moved by it? How could anyone watch the sufferings and passion of Jesus in the movies like “The Son God” and “Passion of Christ” and not be moved?.
The Passion of Jesus moves us because it is we who have inflicted this suffering on Jesus. It was not just the chief priests and it was not just the cruel Roman soldiers who brought this suffering on Jesus; it was our sins that inflicted this suffering on Jesus. There is no past, present or future for Jesus, he is outside of time because, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8) and when we sin we crucify Jesus. We nail him again. So then the account of the Passion of Jesus moves us to flee from sin, to leave sin behind.
The Passion of Jesus shows us up for what we are – sinners who have crucified Jesus – and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we turn to Jesus again and ask for his mercy. And through the Passion of Jesus we receive forgiveness, “through his wounds we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)
Can we face these questions on Palm Sunday? Are we willing to follow Jesus, not just to Church but in our daily life? Are we willing to entrust ourselves to Him even when the future is frightening or confusing, believing God has a plan? Are we willing to serve Him until that day when His plan on earth is fulfilled? These are the questions of Palm Sunday. Let us take a fresh look at this familiar event. We might be surprised at what we see. It could change us forever.
When we are hurt by things in our own life and hurt by what we see happening in the world around us and need answers and healing and reassurance let us turn to meditating on the Passion of Jesus and find the answer there, “through his wounds we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)
During the week ahead I invite you to meditate on the Passion of Jesus, let it become a source of healing for you also. Do not waste this week. Spend this week with Jesus meditating on his Passion. Come to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.