Grace to you!
We come to the last week of our journey through Lent. It is the holiest week in our Christian tradition. Hence it is called Holy Week. Today, Palm Sunday sets the tone for the rest of the week.
Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the triumphant entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem. During that entry, people trooped in large numbers, holding palms in their hands welcoming Jesus to the city, singing "Hosanna, Hosanna, the son of David" (cf. Mt 21:9; Lk 19:37-39). This last public event of Jesus before his arrest was the only time he did not stop people from the public proclamation of his glory. It speaks to us about many other things.
First, it shows how transitory is earthly glory. No sooner had the crowd praised Jesus than they turned against him. In part because their minds were fixed on materialistic, temporal benefits. Hence, when Jesus showed his kingdom was not of this world, they would no longer accept him.
The glory of this world does not endure. Those who want to journey with the Lord must realize this truth. Try as we may, we cannot immortalize our name on earthly things. A day will come. A time will arise when the enduring value will be determined. At that moment, nothing earthly will last. If nothing else, the current Coronavirus pandemic and our unbearable pain and looses, have shown us how uncertain are earthly things. Enduring value is much more spiritual. So also lasting glory lives beyond tangible things.
Second, in our spiritual life, we learn the lesson of glory-triad. We move from glory to the cross and back to glory. The movement from temporal glory minus temporal cross is the movement bereft of ultimate sustainability. We shouldn't be afraid of immersion into the discomforts and sometimes pains of the cross because try as we may, we cannot run away from the cross. If we embrace the cross, make it our friend, we discover and receive the blessings flowing from it. There is life, spiritual strength, from the crossed woods.
Third, we learn from Christ the value of obedience. The prophecy of Isaiah 50:4-7 describes how the Messiah listens and heeds the plan of God. Philippians 2:6-11 situates Christ's disposition in humble obedience. I know obedience is a challenging value in our contemporary world. Nonetheless, it's in obedience to God's will that real victory of the human will is assured. "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" (1 Sam 3:10). Or "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will" (Heb 10:9), is the best witness of the obedience of faith. Obedience comes with enduring glory.
Fourth, tied to obedience is freedom, the choice for God's will. Our will sometimes can be strong. It's an admirable quality to be firm in our decisions. It is strength of character, a testimony of strong willpower. We often admire people with strong willpower because they bring out the best in human ingenuity. They're bold. They're daring. Many times, they're people of integrity.
Our will leads to glory if it syncs with God's will for us. It is not a repudiation of freedom. Not by any chance. Instead, we see in our will the clarity to pierce the best alternatives and see things in the purity of divinity. When the human will is open to the will of God, it makes choices that flow from its very source. Such decisions are pure and full of blessings.
The choices we make reflect the values we hold dear. Our choices for clothes, homes, cars, colors, etc., reflect our personality. We gravitate towards those. In the will is something which speaks most gently—calling us back to God's will. Do we listen? Do we choose it? Do we allow it to grow into the maturity of choices? We learn from Jesus how to choose the will of God, even when it entails the cross.
Nobody forced Jesus to death. He told us, "Nobody can take my life. I lay it down on my own accord" (Jn 10:18). The choice to offer all, including our life to God, is the purest of the decisions to be made, for the will is in its purest form if it can submit itself to the reign of God. The most healthy choice to make in life is to offer our will to something other than what is convenient. The highest and purest of it all is to surrender our will to God's will. In this choice is glory. It's us being fully alive.
As we begin the Holy Week today, let our main project be how to surrender our will to the will of God so that what pleases God will be what delights us too. By so doing, we become intentional and full participants in the mystery of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Pray with me: Lord, give me the grace of true discipleship. May your will in my life be a delight. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
[Palm Sunday; Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14-23:56]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.