Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
By Fr. Roy Cimagala

With the celebration of the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, we mark that triumphal procession of Christ as King that would lead to his passion, death and resurrection.

We should not fail to note the intimate relationship between what is truly to be a king and the need to go through the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. If we want to share the kingship of Christ since we are supposed to be patterned after him, we have to understand that we need to suffer and die with him in order to resurrect also with him in glory. (cfr. Rom 6,8)

The underlying message of Palm Sunday despite the gory details of the Lord’s passion is that of hope, joy and victory. We should never miss this message if we want the celebration of the Lord’s passion a meaningful one.

We have to realize that we need to suffer. Why? Because in the first place, suffering is a consequence of our sins, not to mention our weaknesses, mistakes, and the fact that we have to contend with a supernatural goal that simply goes beyond our natural human powers.

Suffering is unavoidable in this life. No matter how much we try to avoid or ignore it, it will simply come. In fact, the ultimate suffering that no one is exempted from is death. It will come one way or another, sooner or later.

But if we follow what our Christian faith tells us, suffering indeed holds great value in our life. From something to run away from, it has become a goal to pursue, because as long as our suffering is experienced with the spirit of Christ, it becomes a good news, not a bad news.

Every suffering we have should be an invitation for us to go back to Christ, to be converted again, that is, to identify ourselves with him through the work of the Holy Spirit, so we can effect in our mortal flesh that very transformation that took place in Christ, who died and rose from the dead.

This is the challenge we have—how to go beyond mere human considerations of our suffering so as to savor its ultimate religious value. We need to develop the skill to escape from the self-focusing dynamics of suffering when considered only humanly, to be able to hitch ourselves with the saving dynamics of Christ’s suffering.

Are we just contented with complaining and groaning and moaning when we suffer? Or do we start as soon as we can to enter into the more glorious dimensions that our suffering offers?

When Christ said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” (Mk 8,34) he for sure does not mean that he’s leading us to our self-annihilation.

Far from it. It will rather lead us to our self-fulfillment. It is asking us that instead of our own selves, we should have Christ as the center of our attention always, the very core and substance of our consciousness. We need, of course, to exercise our faith to live by this divine indication.

Let’s always remember these words of the Psalms, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.” (18,6) These words should be carved deep and hard into our mind and heart, so we can always remain at peace and with great hope despite our weaknesses and sinfulness, and all the many other things that can cause us anguish—difficulties, trials, failures, setbacks, etc.

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