Palm Sunday: A Reflection From Deacon Conti

The year 2020, unlike perfect eye vision, has brought along an unseen and debilitating disease of the 21st century. It has not the trials of a war, but affects a deadly consequence. It has traversed the planet like a wind and latched onto human beings like never before. However, with the help of technology, good leadership, a superior medical effort and an overall good response from the community, we have been able to curb the death toll and limit its spread. We are able to curtail its progress despite a huge cost to our normality. Thus with the continued help of all, we can hope to bring our pain to an end much more quickly than we envisaged.

The remembrance of the Passion of Our Lord in the year 2020 has also helped us to recap the unique suffering of the Son of God. Scripture puts on display human heart, though meant to symbolize love, has instead chosen to save a thief and put an innocent Man God to death. But this unique sacrificial death is not futile; rather, it has created a unique religion: Christianity. We must thank God for choosing us to be its members. How has the Man God created this supreme religion?

Old Testament scriptures have echoed this sentiment of Christ’s Passion and death as a defining moment in human history. It accentuates the contribution of the elite class of leaders to condemn and put to death the Son of God. One from among the chosen twelve apostles betrays the master with a kiss. The remaining apostles also abandon the master, which reminds us that as holy people, we too are capable of betrayal and abandonment.

At his trial, Pilate the Governor seems perplexed by Jesus’s silence, he knew how unjust the accusers were, and the political power play they had planned. Pilate did not want to be involved in this injustice. Had Jesus defended himself, Pilate would have found a reason to acquit Him. But Jesus refuses to defend himself; instead He becomes the sacrificial Lamb at the slaughterhouse. A supreme divine sacrifice created to enable our earthly membership into His heavenly kingdom.

Unlike the tragic deaths of great men, like Socrates and Lincoln, where respective memorial days help many to remember their contributions to society, the death of Jesus, the Son of God, is the ultimate defining moment of humanity’s redemption and is commemorated as such. Jesus made himself unequal to God and humbly bore pain like never before. But he also left for us His body in the substance of bread and wine, thus reminding us of his words “I will remain with you always until the end of time”. He keeps calling us to come and share in his Body and Blood and become one with it.

Our freedom is never violated. We can choose to reject Christ like the leaders of that time and he will not object. Our salvation designed by God does not exclude our freedom. Abuse of our freedom has consequences, as we are witnessing at this moment around the world. One uses freedom to love, and since we are made in the image and likeness of God, we have this freedom to love. The Passion of our Lord restores our fallen state and the channel of freedom is kept open to open our hearts to exercise love.
Do we have any connection with the Sacraments? Or do we neglect them and have no use for them, for they don’t generate income? They are not seen as methods to illuminate our minds, nor are they considered important for our future. We seem to put all our eggs in the one basket – material possessions and earthly obsessions. Is this a response similar to that of the accusers of Jesus? We are reminded of this, every Passion Sunday throughout our life time, but do we stop to really listen to the scripture’s message?

Jesus invites us to come to him and rest our burden on his shoulders, which also means lending our shoulders to others who need them to rest on as well. Jesus says “my burden is light and my yoke is easy; to follow the sacraments makes our life easier and less tedious. To engage with our calling through the sacraments makes our lives so much more meaningful as it leads us on the road to eternal success.

So let us thank God for He has played his part once again in our lives. The Old Testament covenant is perfected through Christ and the Passover meal is validated by the Last Supper of the New Testament. Our task is simple, we can lose nothing, but we can gain everything by our desire to be with the Lord. So let us wait patiently to flock to his resting place. For we as one body must not leave it empty. Let us use our palms this Sunday and log on to the various media outlets to hear Mass and remind ourselves of His sacrifice this year.