20190414 Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

It’s Not the Persecution -- It’s The Response

I had a chance to walk down Market Street in San Francisco last Saturday. As I was walking, I thought about the places in our world where people still experience suffering and death…how poverty strips people of their dignity…how governments use torture to destroy people’s spirit…and how there are countless people each year who face execution.

This Palm Sunday weekend we read the Passion. The “Passion” really started long before Jesus. It started the first time in history one person persecuted someone else…and it has continued without pause since Jesus himself suffered and died.

So where can we find hope if history is so filled with pain and persecution? We can find hope in the Passion of Jesus. I used to think more about the pain inflicted on Jesus when I listened to the Passion reading…until I figured out that it wasn’t about the pain, the beatings and the humiliation. The Passion is about Jesus’ response.

Focus this Holy Week on Jesus’ response to the people in his life—those who love him and those who reject him. There is some debate arguing that Jesus didn’t know he would be resurrected. Just like us, Jesus didn’t have complete certainty about what would happen to him after his death.

So watch this man during Holy Week. Despite his fear, uncertainty and agony, he focuses on God and others. Through God’s power he offers the last hours of his life as a lesson for how his friends and followers can find meaning the challenges they would face in life.

Then focus on the world we live in today. The fact is that Jesus’ passion still continues. But if we open our eyes, we see that the Father’s power still inspires people to be courageous. We can find on the internet and on the news stories of people in our Bay Area who brave persecution and suffering to help others. Look around school, here at St. Anne’s or your family; you will see people who sacrifice their lives for others.

I’ve said this before: Jesus’ death was not that unusual. It was just a daily occurrence for the Romans to persecute and crucify Jews. It wasn’t set up high on a hill…crucifixions lined the streets so that the people would fear the Romans. Our world has been filled with suffering and pain since the first human beings made their appearance. But Jesus’ response was unusual. His response made the Father’s power and love even more available for Christians who seek to
respond like him…and history is filled with those heroes.

Will you join their number?


Readings at http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041419.cfm

Procession: Luke 19:28-40
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm: Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14—23:56


Gospel Reflection

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