Today, We Honor Christ The Suffering Servant and Christ The King
Readings: (1st: Is 50, 4-7; Ps 21, 8-9, 19-20; 2nd: Phil 2, 6-11: Gos: Mk 14, 1-15-47)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is Palm Sunday. It is a unique Sunday in Lent because it marks the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry of Christ into the royal city of Jerusalem. This entry is highly symbolic. It demonstrates that Christ is the Davidic king that fulfilled this ancient prophecy: “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness…” (Isaiah 9, 7).
Both the first and second reading of this Sunday are on the suffering and humility of Christ the son of God. The first reading is from the book of Isaiah, is the song of the suffering servant of God. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul also reminds of the humility and obedience of Christ, the servant of God: “…He emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are, he was humble even to accepting death on a cross.”
Humbly, the servant of God accepted all his sufferings in order to save us. He offered and lost his life in order to secure victory for us. The most important lesson from all these is that, the virtues of patience, humility and obedience are very important in life. Also, the readings teach us that suffering is inevitable in life. Therefore, only those who are ready to persist and endure to the end will triumph. Also, they teach us that, if we persist in our faith, we shall emerge victorious over sufferings.
Today’s passion narrative according to Mark bears some of the most important symbols. These include the palms, the donkey, and the crowd. The Palms represent the royalty of Christ and his peaceful reign. The donkey is a symbol of Christ’s humility. Though he is king, he chose to ride on a donkey, a humble animal. This is contrary to what we see today in our world. Our rulers and kings live in affluence, while their people live in poverty. So, Christ demonstrated his humility, through his solidarity with the poor and the weak.
Our procession today was for two reasons. First, to honor Christ as he enters the royal city. Hence, we sang: “Hosanna to the son of David, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Second, to express our solidarity with Christ as he begins the journey that will ultimately lead to our salvation. So, as we sing hosanna today, we must ask God for the grace to remain faithful to the end.
Unfortunately, the sad news is that some of those (the crowd), who hailed Christ with the shout of hosanna, were the same people to latter demanded: “crucify him” on Good Friday. These episodes simply reflect the reality of life. They also reflect how unfaithful and unpredictable we can be at times in our relationships with God, and others. Today, we are for Christ, tomorrow we are against him. Christ is our friend when we are in difficulty, but our enemy when we are comfortable. It also shows how we relate with one another. Today we are friends, and tomorrow we are arch-enemies.
As we show solidarity to Christ today, it is important that we ask God for the grace to remain steadfast to him at all moments of our lives. We must also extend this solidarity to others. This is because, in others, we encounter both Christ the suffering servant of God as well as, Christ the king of the world.
Peace be with you!