Palm Sunday 2011

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Philippians 2: 5-12 Matthew 27: 1-54

Truly this was the Son of God

Beloved, just imagine a situation where you trust someone so strongly; you open up to that person and tell him/her everything about your life; the love that you have for that person is so real that you are ready to sacrifice everything for him/her, making sure nothing happens to him/her, bearing his/her burdens with him, sharing in his sorrows, his/her worries and anxieties. How would you feel if one day you just discover that that person betrayed you and was working against you or even trying not only to destroy your reputation, but also was ready to kill you? How do you feel about it?

Jesus sacrificed everything for us

Paul, in our Epistle today, said that Jesus made himself nothing by taking the nature of a servant. Just think about that: God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the creator of heaven and earth, humbled himself and served you and I and became our “GPS”, showing us the directions to follow in order to reach our destination. He did not and does not mind his own business. Instead, he had and has a mind to give his life for others. Paul says this, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”. This is another way of reporting the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). That’s what Jesus himself did. He made the good of others the focus of his interest.  He found his joy in making others joyful. That’s why he was exalted by God.

Jesus Christ exalted

Let us remember how joyful the crowds were at the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. He had spent many months traveling through towns and villages of Palestine. He preached about the Kingdom of God and performed many miracles including healing and raising dead such as Lazarus. Now the time had come for him to claim his title as the Messiah—meaning the anointed one (Matthew 21: 1-11). The crowds of Jerusalem spread their coats on the ground; some waved palm branches, which is regarded as a sign of victory. They shouted: Hosanna! Blessed is he cometh in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel.

The majority of them did not even understand what kind of king Jesus would be. Their expectation was that the Christ, the Messiah would be a great political and military leader who would set them free from the Roman Empire. Very quickly, the crowds that exalted and praised him on Palm Sunday would be the same that would oppose him. On the road to His glorification Jesus faced strong opposition. Here, we go back to our question “how would you feel”? How do you think Jesus felt when they decided to kill him? How do you feel? Let’s think about it!

As we now enter the Holy Week which leads to the Feast of the Resurrection, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our own resurrection, I truly hope and pray that everyone will prepare himself for the coming celebrations.  Our preparation should include some form of sacrifice, because the benefits of the Resurrection were obtained for us through the blood of the Paschal Lamb. And we need to remember that salvation is available to us – not because we are good people, not because we are better than the crowds of Jews shouting for the crucifixion of the King of kings – but because Christ died and that, there can be no Resurrection without the Crucifixion.  To approach this season without fervent prayer and fasting is the same as taking the Crucifixion for granted.

May we live all the days of our lives in the joy and the freedom of the victory that Jesus won for us over sin and death. Amen!