Grace to you!
We come to the last week of our Lenten Journey. It is called Holy Week, because it’s the holiest week in our Christian tradition.
Today, Palm Sunday, we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We remember when people trooped in large numbers, holding palms in their hands, welcoming Jesus to the city of Jerusalem, singing; “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10; see also Matthew 21:9; Luke 19:37-39).
This was the last public event of Jesus before his arrest. It was also the only time the Lord Jesus did not stop people from publicly confessing his glory. It speaks to us about many other things, four of which I will highlight in today’s reflection.
First, it shows how fleeting is earthly glory. No sooner had the crowd praised Jesus, than they turned against him. Probable Reason—their minds were fixed on materialistic, temporal benefits. So, when Jesus showed his kingdom was not of this world, they no longer accepted him or sang his praises. The glory of this world is like a passing shadow. Those who want to journey with the Lord must realize the kind of glory he brings. Try as we may, we cannot immortalize our name on earthly things. A day will come. A time will arise when the true value will be determined. Namely, the glory that endures forever. Such glory is not earth-bound. It is eternal, it is heavenly.
Second, in our spiritual life, we learn the lesson of the glory-triad, that is, life’s movement from glory to the cross and back to glory. The movement from temporal glory minus temporal cross is the movement deprived of lasting joy and glory. We shouldn’t be afraid of the discomforts and pains of the cross. 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—a tough value for our contemporary world. Nonetheless, it’s in obedience to God’s Will that true victory of the human will is assured. “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” is always the best witness of the obedience of faith. Obedience to the will of God always, and I mean always, comes with enduring glory.
Fourth, tied to obedience is freedom, the choice for God’s Will. Our will sometimes can be strong. In fact, it’s a good quality to be firm in our decisions. It is strength of character. Strength of character is an example 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 would lead to glory if it syncs with God’s Will for us. This is not a rejection of freedom. Not by any means. Instead, we see in our will the true purity to pierce the best choices 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 choices are pure and full of blessings.
The choices we make reflect the values we hold dear. Our choices for clothes, homes, cars, colours, etc., reflect our personality. We gravitate towards those choices that resonate with us. In the will is something which speaks in the gentlest way—calling us back to God’s Will. Do we listen? Do we choose it? Do we allow it to grow into 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 himself told us, “Nobody can take my life. I lay it down on my own accord” (John 10:18). The choice to offer all, including our life to God, is the purest of the choices to be made, for the will is in its purest form if it can freely offer itself to the reign of God. Granted it is tough, and entails sacrifices to yield 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. However, glory lies in making this choice.
As we begin the Holy Week today, let our main project be how to freely surrender our will to the Will of God so that what pleases God will be what pleases us too. By so doing, we become intentional and full participants in the Paschal Mystery (that is the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
Pray with me: Lord, give me the grace to align my will and its desires with your will for me. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
[Palm Sunday; Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 14:1-15:47]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.