At the center of Palm/Passion Sunday is the Passion narrative, which happens to be from Matthew’s gospel in this liturgical year A, as we hear Mark in year B and Luke in year C. The story of Jesus’ passion has been called the greatest story ever told. Each evangelist has his own historical and theological import he endeavors to communicate.
This narrative is what has made Passion Sunday victorious and Good Friday good. It is a passion seen totally with the eyes of faith in which the victim has become the conqueror. Jesus was actively resistant to injustice but consciously non-violent. By breaking the vicious cycle of fear and hatred, revenge and retribution, scapegoating and victimizing, violence and death, Jesus proclaimed the triumph of love and life. The cross is the concrete sign of His self-giving love, a tree of life, a victory of love over hatred, the instrument of new life and new hope to all who follow his path of reconciliation with God and with one another.
The crucifix contains God’s drama of entangling with the human condition and history so as to elevate and free humanity. We live in an age of global instability. Many return to the myopic nationalism with hardly any sense of solidarity and collaboration. This means that many needy and desperate people are neglected, forcing people to be uprooted from their homes. Many are risking their lives in search for safety and survival.
The reality of global instability and conflict may lead one into fatalism and skepticism. But the story of Christ’s passion can transform our outlook. With Jesus, we can turn sorrow into joy, a crisis into an opportunity, and a skeptic into a builder of the Kingdom.
It is the greatest story, the central drama of God’s love for us, on which hinges our salvation. We enter this Holy Week with this story. We have the opportunity to enter into the continuing saga of God’s work of redemption: Holy Thursday celebration of the Lord’s Supper preceded by the Washing of the Feet (7:30 p.m.); Good Friday veneration of the Cross, the sign of the victory of love and life over sin and death (7:30 p.m.), preceded by the Stations of the Cross at 3, 5, and 5:30pm; Easter Vigil celebration of Christ’s light, sacraments of initiation, renewal of our baptismal promise (8 p.m.). May this celebration become the very fiber of our being, the fabric of our relationships, and the guiding map of our journey to God! I wish you a blessed Holy Week and Easter!
Fraternally in Christ,
Fr. Paul D. Lee