Palm/Passion Sunday (April 14, 2019)

In today’s Gospel, we experience Jesus as the ‘suffering servant’. His suffering unto death brings eternal life to the human family. St. Francis de Sales reflects on this event: “The most powerful reason for Jesus’ death is to fill the human spirit with God’s love. Out of death has come life, the wondrous paradox, which the world does not understand. He not only died a cruel death to bring God’s love to us, but he also suffered fear, terror, abandonment, and inner depression such as never had and never shall have an equal. He did this so that we too may persevere in pursuing divine love.”

Jesus’ human feelings left his entire heart exposed to sorrow and anguish. For this reason he cries out: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. On Calvary death, life and love intermingle. Out of love Jesus chose death on a cross so that we might live as a child of God and possess eternal love. Christian wisdom consists in choosing rightly. Let us choose to empty ourselves of our selfish desires and loves, so that we may be filled with God’s love, which gives rise to new life in us.

We ought to consecrate every moment of our lives to the divine love of Our Savior’s death. If injured by others, look often on Christ Jesus, crucified, forsaken and overwhelmed, by every kind of anguish. Then think of the many people who are incomparably more afflicted than you are and say: Are not my hardships roses in comparison with those, who without help, assistance, or relief live a continual death, burdened by afflictions infinitely greater than mine? When all things fail us, when our distress is at its height, say the final words of Jesus on the cross: “Into Your hands I commend my spirit.” How happy we will be when we entrust ourselves totally into God’s hands! In doing all things for the glory of God, we will do all things well.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)