Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 11:1-10; Mk 14: 1–15:47 or Mk 15: 1-39
Dear Friends! The story of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus represents the climax, not just of the earthly career of our Lord, but of all biblical revelation. The first part of this Passion story, without the Resurrection, is the gospel selection for this last Sunday of Lent. It is impossible to comment on all the elements of this lengthy and incredibly rich gospel passage, and so I have decided to offer a few questions to reflect today.
Am I a barren fig tree? God expects me to produce fruits of holiness, purity, justice, humility, obedience, charity, and forgiveness. Am I a barren fig tree? Or do I continue to produce bitter fruits of impurity, injustice, pride, hatred, jealousy and selfishness?
Do I expect Jesus to cleanse my heart with His whip? Jesus cannot tolerate the desecration of the temple of the Holy Spirit in me by my addiction to uncharitable, unjust and impure thoughts words and deeds; neither does He approve of my calculation of loss and gain in my relationship with God.
Do I welcome Jesus into my heart? Am I ready to surrender my life to Him during this Holy Week and welcome Him into all areas of my life as my Lord and Savior, singing “Hosanna”? Let the palms we carry home today, remind us that Christ is the King of our families that Christ is the King of our hearts and that Christ is the only true answer to our quest for happiness and meaning in our lives. And if we do proclaim Christ as our King, let us try to make time for Him in our daily life; let us be reminded that He is the One with Whom we will be spending eternity.
Are we ready to become like the humble donkey that carried Jesus? As we “carry Jesus” to the world, we can expect to receive the same welcome that Jesus received on Palm Sunday, but we must also expect to meet the same opposition, crosses and trials later. Like the donkey, we are called upon to carry Christ to a world that does not know Him. Let us always remember that a Christian without Christ is a contradiction in terms. Such a one betrays the Christian message. Hence, let us become transparent Christians during this Holy Week, enabling others to see in us Jesus’ universal love, unconditional forgiveness and sacrificial service.
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 for us 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.
St. Francis de Sales tells, “I saw a while ago a girl carrying a bucket of water on her head. In the middle of the bucket she had placed a piece of wood. I wanted to know why, and she said that it was to prevent the water from moving for fear that it would spill. From that time on, I said to myself, we have to put the Cross in the middle of our hearts to stop the movements of our affections in this wood and by this wood so that they do not otherwise spill out through anxiety and disturbances of the spirit. I always have to tell you my little thoughts.” When your heart is troubled put the Cross of Jesus in the middle of your heart to find strength and courage to go forward in life without losing hope. Know that Jesus is with you in your struggle.