10TH APRIL 2022
JESUS’ PASSION AND DEATH
Today being Passion Sunday, the mother Church celebrates the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem so as to accomplish his paschal mystery. The readings will focus on the ordeal and humanity of Jesus Christ.
Today’s celebration is also full of symbols. The green palm is a symbol of peace; “He shall be the prince, and king of peace” Isaiah 11: 1-9; 9:6. It also represents royalty and restoration. The crowd symbolizes both praise and denial or rejection. The reason is that the crowd singing “hosanna” today, will be the same crowd to short “crucify him.” And the donkey is a symbol of Christ’s humility that we see in the book of Zachariah 9: 9.
The core massage in the first reading is the song of “servant of God” which is the humility of Christ. In spite of his sufferings, He did not avoid his ordeal: “For my part I made no resistance, neither did I cover my face against insult and spittle.” Indeed, he faced it bravely while forward to his justification by his father.
In the second reading, Saint Paul highlighted the greatness and depth of Jesus’ humility. He recalled the kenosis (self-emptying) of Jesus: “though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God, He humbled himself till death.” Paul urges us to be like Jesus, by living a simple, humble and gentle life. Unfortunately, we live in a world of pride and vainglory. Humility and simplicity attract both God and humans. In other way round, pride leads everyone to humiliation and shame.
Today’s Gospel is from the passion narrative of Christ. We can divide the scene into three parts: the arrest of Christ, his arraignment before Roman authorities, and his suffering and death. It is a drama of both praise and betrayal. This is something that begins as comedy and ends with tragedy.
Therefore, the journey that started with praises “Hosanna, Hosanna”, eventually ended with betrayal “crucify Him, crucify him.” The humility that Christ demonstrated today is contrary to the arrogant display of wealth and firm by today’s rulers and leaders. In spite of God, Christ humble rode on the lowliest of beasts. He did not violate traffic rules because he is the Lord. He needed no security officers; instead he simply mounted a colt and made his way into Jerusalem. Jesus being a humble leader, he was not afraid of his mission.
The passion narrative of Jesus Christ is very paramount to our understanding of the true nature of Christ. Christ logically, it presents us with the real human nature of Jesus Christ. He suffered, and died like every other human being. Yet it did not remove his divine nature as God.
Through his passion, He has become our role model, while his cross has become a symbol of hope and salvation. And so when we talk of the glorious lord of Easter, we must think of him as the wounded and crucified Christ.
In conclusion, as we Christians sing hosanna, hosanna today, let us not crucify him for second time through our reckless lives rather, we ask God to keep us faithful till we sing the great alleluia both to the glory of the risen Christ at Easter and in heaven amen.