April 02, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s passion
Isaiah 50: 4-7; Philippians 2: 6-11; Mathew 26: 14 - 27:66
Meditation on Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem and his subsequent passion is an invitation to participate in the mystery of God’s love by accepting our own sufferings and thus proclaiming Jesus as our king.
A little girl was walking in a garden. She noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed at it, she observed the soil in which it grew. It was so dirty. She said, “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. Soon afterward the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!” “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.” Life becomes meaningful only when it is lived with its sufferings, pain, sinfulness, sickness, and limitations.
In Prophet Isaiah we have the prophecy of Jesus’ passion, “For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard” (Isa 50:5-6). Here we see that the suffering servant accepts the suffering without resistance.
St Matthew presents all the details of Our Lord’s passion. Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem was a pilgrimage to the Holy City for the common feast of Passover, the memorial of Israel’s liberation from Egypt. He knew that what awaited him was a new Passover and that he himself would take the place of the sacrificial lamb, by offering himself on the cross. Jesus surrenders his will to the Father accepting his suffering and cross as a means of our salvation.
His disciples react in a very different way. They give in to temptation. One leaves the room and heads off to betray Jesus. Others even at this most solemn moment are still concerned about prestige and who should be considered the most important among them. Peter, the rock, chosen on which to build the Church, promises in big words never to betray Jesus, but on that same evening, Peter will deny Jesus three times. Judas betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. The people who sang his praises on his triumphant entry abandoned him.
What would be our attitude when confronted with suffering, isolation, pain, and cross in our efforts to follow Jesus? Are we like the people, disciples, Peter, Judas, or saints? Do we proclaim Jesus as our king only with our lips? God has placed us exactly where we are, with our sufferings, sickness, and dirt. He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. True contentment comes when we accept God’s plan in our lives. Jesus challenges us today to partake of his passion in our daily lives. If we have professed him as our king and Lord, our path is the way of the cross.
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.