Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
04/05/2009
Readings
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1—15:47

Of all the literary genres that exist only one is completely dependent upon a single person. The genre of Gospel revolves around Jesus and without Jesus there are no Gospels. This particular genre not only tells the story of Christ but also shows how all events are shaped and directed by him. He is unquestionably the center of the narrative and nothing happens without his instigation or consent. The events surrounding his Passion are no different.

Although on the surface it might appear that others such as Pontius Pilate or Herod or the chief priests are in control, a proper reading of the Gospels shows that Jesus in fact is allowing, even directing, all that occurs. His entire life consists of following the will of the Father, regardless of any pressure to do otherwise. Paul tells us that the very incarnation was by Christ’s choice: “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). He was not emptied by others, but “he emptied himself,” freely choosing to give up the divine prerogatives to save us. He did not reject an unseemly death, but accepted it willingly. At all times his will was freely aligned to the Father’s will, which was to save us.

The prophet Isaiah says that the savior “set [his] face like flint.” This is an apt description of Christ’s attitude. In spite of the extreme suffering he would endure at his Passion, he remains steadfast in fulfilling his mission. Just as amazing, He remains resolute in his desire to die for our sins even in the face of the crowd’s adulation on Palm Sunday. Neither humiliation nor praise does he allow to deter him from his task.

Just so, in the Christian life, we will face both darkness and light, yet we must remain faithful to God’s will. We must remember that in spite of any trial that we experience that to follow Him is to follow Love; both the highs and lows of life can lead us closer to Him. Let us set our faces like flint as we encounter what life has to offer, knowing that it will lead to the same result as that of Jesus’ life: glory with God.


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