April 10, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
First Reading Isaiah 50:4-7, Second reading Philippians 2:6-11, Gospel Luke 23:1-49
A rich friend told me how worried he was when he was hospitalized at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He regarded everyone who entered his room as a COVID-19 carrier. Instead of seeing a person, he saw a virus. The pandemic revealed the truth: no matter how powerful one thinks he is, he can be shaken by something as microscopic as COVID-19.
But look at Jesus. The first reading describes him as the kind of man who gave his back to those who beat him; he did not shield his face from physical suffering. He took upon himself all forms of pain and suffering. The Psalms speak of him as someone scoffed at and mocked by all (psychological suffering), to the extent that he cried out, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?" (spiritual suffering).
In the second reading, St. Paul reveals him as God who took the form of an enslaved person, became a man like us, and humbled himself to the point of a shameful death on the cross.
Despite all these, Jesus proved His power, the true power, by staying focused on His mission—the salvation of men. It would have been effortless for him to defeat his enemies and show his control over them. If we had been in His shoes, I am confident that we would have fought back instead of succumbing to the bullying of the Jews and Pharisees. Are we not like that? Look at what’s happening even in this time of pandemic–bickering, mudslinging, finger-pointing, complaining. Why? Because we want to show that we have power over others.
True power is rising above our human nature. We are the children of God. Our power is not in ourselves. Our passion is in our God. Our strength is in our faith. Our emphasis is on our ability to love, share, and remain calm and trusting despite the pain, suffering, and death. If we stay in Jesus, our death leads to life, and our passion leads to resurrection. Amen.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.