Is 50: 4-7; Ph 2: 6-11; Mk 14: 1-15:47
I think you’re so familiar with Footprints in the Sand written by Mary Stevenson. It goes this way:
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied: “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. This Palm Sunday happens on the sixth and final Sunday of Lent and today we begin the Holy Week celebration. We begin our celebration today with the blessing of your palm leaves that you brought here in the church. The blessing of palm leaves and the procession we made marks the triumphant entry of Jesus to the city of Jerusalem. Jesus entered the city on a donkey and the people shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and scattered palm leaves and branches on the road. I wear red vestments symbolizing Jesus’ joyful and triumphant entry to Jerusalem.
But the gospel we read in the Mass today is the Passion narrative telling us about the shameful, cruel and bloody death of Jesus on the cross. The people who shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” were the same people who shouted, “Crucify Him!” and the red liturgical vestments I wear seem now to symbolize agony, blood and martyrdom. I think there is a change of mood here.
When He was arrested, His own circle of friends, the apostles and those who shouted at Him, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ rejected Him. In His lowest moment and darkest hour, he was rejected, denied and shunned even by His relatives and closed friends. Unlike in the Footprints in the Sand, in our darkest hour, Jesus does not abandon us but carry us in our trying moments.
Well, anyway this change of mood reflects our faith life Fr Rudy Horst, SVD said in his homily on this occasion. There are moments when we are enthusiastic about Him, about our Church and our faith but then this followed by moments of doubts, of rejection of certain things which we personally dislike because they go against our lifestyle and habits. Often we are like the palm leaves, green and beautiful today but dry, brown and withered in few days.
That is why Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD in his book, Inquirer Moments Cycle B, wished that we will be infected with SARS, not the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome but SARS, that is, we will become Sincere And Repentant Sinners. As individuals, as a family and as a nation, we must bend our knees and beg forgiveness for our sins against Him and against one another.
Fr. Orbos suggested some Don’ts when it comes to SARS as Sincere And Repentant Sinners:
First is, don’t be ‘SARSrado,’ or closed. Be open to God’s voice, calling you to come back to Him and to turn from your evil ways. Take time to really listen to God. Open your heart to real conversion and real change of heart. Make a good confession and be at peace with God. You know why you don’t have true confession and peace? “SARSrado kasi eh.
Second is, stop being aSARS to others. Stop irritating and stop hurting others. Ask for forgiveness and pray for the people you may have heart, cheated, used or abused.
Instead of just having a grand vacation to other places like Boracay or Lake Sebu or in beach, as some of our actors and actresses do, let’s spend this week to express our thank you’s, I’m sorry’s and I love you’s to people around us, not only in words but especially in deeds and concrete actions. Make the firm decision to stop hurting and start loving.
Third is, stop ‘paSARSrap.’ Cut down, if not all together, cut off your pleasures and vices in life. Life is not one big epicurean holiday. Some people think and desire life to be one grand pleasure cruise. Instead of focusing on a cruise, focus on the cross. Power, money and pleasures, all these make life happy and easy but they leave us vain, miserable and empty. Think about it: a few moments of pleasure can lead to a lifetime of misery without measure.
Let us meet Him once again in this season of Lent and ushers Him into our lives with childlike faith and openness.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B