Not What I Will

Palms for Palm Sunday

This Sunday, March 28, we are celebrating Palm Sunday, of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus will be tried, condemned and crucified. The most difficult and painful path begins for Our Lord Jesus Christ; he feels abandoned, betrayed and marginalized by his disciples. Being man, like us, he shares everything with us, except sin. What’s more, he feels sad and abandoned by his Father when he faces death; when he is crucified: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” However, Jesus was obedient from the beginning of his public ministry until his death and crucifixion. “Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” That very distinct and convincing phrase of Jesus, led him to always be obedient, despite going through very bitter moments, of pain, anguish and sadness. If we deepen and experience the first reading of Isaiah and the second reading of Saint Paul to the Philippians, we will conclude that Jesus was always humble, obedient, meek, simple and very peaceful.

Despite the spitting, blows, scorn, mockery, and scourging, Jesus never returned evil with evil; on the contrary, Jesus was meek and humble, always setting an example of being instruments of peace. “The Lord God… Opens my ear that I may her; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50: 5-7). Jesus always trusted his Heavenly Father and for that reason he acted as we see him act during his passion and death. That is a teaching for all of us who are distrustful and fearful of suffering and death. We who say that we love God, act like Jesus, and always trust him, no matter what? Are we peaceful, meek, humble and instruments of peace like Jesus?

On the other hand, Saint Paul presents us with a Jesus who always took the condition of slave, the slave of the slaves, and the servant of the servants. He never had airs of greatness, fame, prestige and honors; on the contrary, it was the opposite. “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, 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” (Philippians 2: 5-8). Hopefully, and I pray that all of us who call ourselves and proclaim ourselves to be followers of Jesus Christ, take seriously this HOLY WEEK, imitating His great example. Let’s not just be spectators, living on emotions and fleeting moments this Easter; let’s act instead of talking. Let us put aside the fanaticism, emotionalism and romanticism like many Catholic Christians, who only feel pity and pain for Jesus during his passion and death. Let us live each day of Holy Week, experiencing and living His passion and death, and at the same time imitate and follow the example of OUR SAVIOR AND REDEEMER, JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD. Amen.

With love and respect, Father Alberto Villafan, ofm.

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