Msgr. Josefino S. Ramirez
SUNDAY GOSPEL IN OUR LIFE
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem when He was publicly acclaimed by the crowds to be the promised Messiah. Yet it is ironic that a few days later, this same crowd, instigated by their leaders, would be clamoring for the blood of Christ and preferring a thief and murderer to Him.
The Church, in her wisdom, makes us consider the events of the passion of Christ in today’s Gospel reading. Besides showing us the passing nature of human praise and glory, she also prepares us for the “holy three days” that will culminate in the real glory, the glory of the resurrection to a new life of grace.
How will we spend Holy Week? Are we going merely to consider it as another vacation and spend the time playing mahjong or watching one movie after another?
While there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of these days to rest a bit and also to engage in wholesome recreation, we should not lose this opportunity to consider more deeply the meaning of the salvific events in our life.
The gospel narrates to us, in a straightforward and matter-of-fact manner, those bloody events that could perhaps have graced the pages of a story of terror.
Yet it is not a question of simply getting awed at the sufferings Christ bore for us.
The Roman Catechism tells us that we should realize that Christ suffered all of that voluntarily. If someone were to endure suffering for our sake, but out of compulsion, we might be somehow grateful, but not very much.
On the other hand, if He were to endure death freely and entirely for our sake, while having the power to avoid it, then we should feel a great debt of gratitude to that person. It would manifest that person’s great love for us, and it should move us to do whatever we can to reciprocate that person’s love.
There is a Spanish proverb, Amor con amor se paga. Love is paid back with love. The passion of Christ is the great proof of God’s love for each one of us. All He wants is that we love Him in return. And Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
What a wonderful way of living up to the moral demands of the Christian life! To be honest, to be upright, to be humble, not to give vent to one’s passions or fury—but to love out of love, out of personal loyalty to that Man who suffered and gave His life for us.
Through the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, we have been redeemed by Christ and saved from our sins. It is now a matter of corresponding to that salvific work, so that the redemption wrought by Christ can bear fruit in our lives.