Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56
There were three priests (a Passionist, a Franciscan and a Diocesan) contested who among themselves to be like Jesus. So the Passionist went to Gaisano department store. When all the ladies and even men saw the Passionist, they shouted: “Oh, Richard Gomez is here!” He failed. Then the Franciscan went to Kimball Plaza but sad to note, the ladies shouted: “Oh, Jericho Rosales is here!” Again the Franciscan failed. It’s now the time for the Diocesan to prove himself if he is really like Jesus Christ. He went to a beerhouse and then the Guest Relation Officer (or GRO) shouted: “Oh, my Jesus, you are here again!” And the winner was the Diocesan priest.
Today we celebrate and dramatize the beginning of Holy Week called the Triumphal Entry of Jesus in Jerusalem or popularly known as the Palm Sunday by which our church also named as the Passion Sunday. The disciples and the crowd hailed Jesus as king who comes in the name of the Lord. The scene has a fiesta atmosphere with people shouting: “Hosanna!” or hail to the king. But they were somehow frustrated of this expectation in Jesus as the Messiah who will liberate them from the bondage of slavery. Instead of Jesus riding on a horse which symbolizes physical force and victory in a battle, he was riding on a donkey which symbolizes humble service, a symbol of peace. In other words, by riding on a donkey, Jesus is bringing forth a message of peace that comes from God to His people. In this scene Jesus is the center of attention.
Palm Sunday represents those high moments of celebration of our faith: baptism, confirmation, first communion, weddings, ordinations, pilgrimages, birthdays, rallies for a cause and others. Everybody wants to be a part of the celebration. Everyone is proud of one’s faith. But when this faith has to be translated into action like: seminars, volunteering for a work, contributions and others only few are willing to take the risk of sharing.
Jesus was welcomed with a hosanna because during His public ministry, He cured their sickness, fed the hungry and performed other miracles for them. These material and physical favors aroused the enthusiasm of the crowd to a point that they wanted Him to be their king. In other words, they were His fans and Jesus was their idol. But when Jesus demolished His fans’ political dream of a violent take over, the Jesus Fans’ Club disintegrated and became His crucifiers. The people who idolized Him booed Him.
People could be pickle-minded and easily manipulated. The often-repeated saying: “Vox populi, Vox Dei” (or the People of God is the voice of the people) is not always true. We see this clearly in the public trial of Christ. It showed how the people were manipulated to a point that it chose to free the criminal Barabbas instead of Christ whom Pilate said: “Committed no crime.”
Also, Holy Week is a week of love. Jesus during Last Supper taught this love and then He died on the Cross out of love for us. So that our sins may be forgiven until eternity and that we might join Him in eternal glory
Let us meditate on this love by meditating on the first day of the Holy Week, the Passion Sunday. As what I have been said a while ago that people welcomed Him with delight. Jesus’ heart must have overjoyed because they hailed Him as he approached Jerusalem. Hundreds of its inhabitants cheered Him on the road with songs and palm branches, acclaiming Him the messiah and liberator of Israel. Later on, the same crowd who shouted at Him: “Crucify Him!” But because of His great love and He is the heart of the love, even crucifixion, he accepted.
Spiritual writer Henri Nouwen as quoted by Fr. Joseph Galdon, SJ has a very good reflection about love. He says that if we are going to be good lovers, we have to exercise three Cs – we have to be Competent, Compassionate and Contemplative.
Love is Competence. It means that we have to be good in everything we do. As Fr. Galdon added: “If we are going to be good lovers we have to be ‘GGs’ – Good Guys or Good Girls. We have to be a good husband or a good wife, a good parent or a good child, a good brother or a good sister.” Love also means that we have to be good in our work because our work should be a work of love to help others. Also, being good in life!”
We have to be Compassionate. We must sympathize with everyone in our lives especially those who need us. Compassion means to love, to be supremely concerned with what is good for others and not just what is good for us.
We must be a Contemplative person. We have to pray. To be a greatest lover is to be a good pray-er.
So my dear friends, during this Passion Sunday, we have palm branches or coconut leaves blessed, brought home and kept in altars and doorways. Soon they will wither. But let those brittle and dried up leaves in our homes reminds us that our love and loyalty to Christ should not wither and fade just like the enthusiasm of the pickle-minded people on the first Passion Sunday. Also, we have to competent in all things that we do. We ought to pray about it and talk to God about being good and loving.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C
OPTION 01, 02, 03, 04,