Theme: The Christian As A Suffering Servant & An Agent of Peace
Ps 22:8-9. 17-18a. 19-20. 23-24 (R. 2a)
The Church celebrates today the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal mystery (passion, death, Resurrection and Ascension). Liturgically, this is the first day of the Holy Week and the last week of the season of Lent. Throughout the forty days of the period of Lent, prepared as we are, the Church calls us to make this triumphal entry with Jesus Christ. It is a journey which will start with “Hosanna to the Son of David…” and will culminate with the Passion of the Lord which will give way for the celebration of Easter. The Christian life also follows the same trajectory and we are called upon as a Church to imitate Jesus Christ solemnly on this journey of humility.
The readings of today give us a symbol of a servant’s relationship to God. It is a favourite disciple’s relation to his master. This is all that the Christian life is about, discipleship. The prophet Isaiah in the first reading of today gives that beautiful hymn of the suffering servant (Isa 50:4-7). But one thing that the servant knows echoed in the words of the prophet Isaiah is that “I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame”. My dear ones, the Christian life is full of suffering and St. Padre Pio says “the life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self”. Throughout the season of Lent, the Church asked us to observe the disciplines of Lent (Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving) which are in a way struggles about our spiritual and physical selves. We should always remember that when suffering comes, it is an opportunity for us to test our Christian ability of endurance. The Lord makes that triumphal journey today bearing in mind that he will suffer and die for sins. Indeed, if we share in His sufferings, we can equally share in His glory (Rom 8:17).
The servant’s relationship is reechoed in the second reading of today (Phil 2:6-11). Jesus was in the form of God yet he took our flesh to save us. This is the beauty of the paschal mystery that we are called upon not to always focus on our sufferings but ultimately gaze on the beautiful dawn of Easter. This calls for humility on the part of the Christian. And Jesus shows this by his whole life and today specifically in the riding of a donkey. For the Eastern tradition at the time of Jesus, donkey is an animal of peace. Therefore, we are called upon to be peacemakers in the society. Christians today should exhibit peace in the world that lacks this necessary ingredient. If we are servants of our Master, then like prophet Isaiah “the Lord God should open our ears so that we can be witnesses of his passion in the world and be ready to rejoice with the Lord at Easter”
May we follow Christ in this Holy Week bearing in mind that Christian suffering is real. May the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ help us to be agents of peace in our world. Despite the sufferings we face as Christians, the Lord wants to save us through his own redeeming power so that at Easter we can sing joyous for our redemption.
By Michael Selasi Combey