April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

The liturgy opens the door into Holy Week with a procession to enter into the Paschal Mystery of the Lord’s passion and resurrection. With devotion, we identify our lives with the abasement of Christ, who pours his life out in manifestation of God’s love for the world. Psalm 22 voices the universal question, “My God, why have you abandoned me?”

The hymn from Philippians guides us to the reading of the passion. God’s action in the incarnation began the “kenosis” of the cross. The gentleness and humility of the Word made flesh who comes as obedient Son reflects the infinite love of the Father. Jesus serves us not in power but in the weakness of a suffering servant on the cross. Christ emptied himself in slavery to the full constraints of humanity, humble and obedient to death.

As a man of sorrows, he suffered our sufferings. Predictions of betrayal and denial overshadow the final meal when the disciples drink the blood of the covenant shed for the forgiveness of sin. The cross is a harsh truth before Jesus alone at prayer in the garden, “…let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.”

In the comfort of the liturgy, we risk the narration of the passion as familiar and detached from the horror and cruelty against the innocent victim. The same is true in our time as the passion of Christ is lived in the agony of so many who are suffering violence. Do we hear the cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Have we become bystanders who fail to live in the Paschal Mystery of kenosis? In the Eucharist, we are emptied so that Christ’s life might live in us.

Let us pray:

As an example of humility for the human race to follow, you caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the cross. Graciously grant us to heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his resurrection. Amen.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About William Fickel, SSS