Palm Sunday. The
Passion of the Christ and the events leading up to it always move me to
tears. The Last Supper is
bittersweet. Jesus knows it is
the last meal He will share with His beloved disciples before the last of
the Scriptures are fulfilled. He
offers them His body and blood, which will sustain them when He is gone...
Then He retreats, alone, to the Garden of Gethsemane.
knelt down and began to pray, saying, 'Father, if You are willing,
remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.'
Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And
being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like
drops of blood, falling down upon the ground." (Luke 22:41-44)
this Most Holy Week, we are called to reflect upon our lives, to repent of
our sins, and to draw closer to God through His Son, Jesus.
Jesus is divine, yet He knows what it was to be fully human.
He is calling us to follow His example and to follow the two
greatest commandments: to love God and to love one another (Matthew
22:36-40). He suffered greatly
throughout the agonizing hours of His Passion.
I don't know which was worse for Him - the excruciating pain
and torture, or the devastating grief he felt when He was abandoned by His
Francis gave us much to reflect on in his Palm Sunday homily in 2014:
week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: the
entire populace welcomes Jesus. The children and young people
sing, praising Jesus.
this week continues in the mystery of Jesus'
death and his resurrection. We have just listened to the
Passion of our Lord. We might well ask ourselves just one
question: Who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I,
before Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid the enthusiasm of
the crowd? Am I ready to express my joy, to praise him? Or
do I stand back? Who am I, before the suffering Jesus?
We have just heard many, many names. The group of leaders, some
priests, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, who had decided
to kill Jesus. They were waiting for the chance to arrest him. Am
I like one of them?
We have also heard another name: Judas. Thirty pieces of
silver. Am I like Judas? We
have heard other names too: the disciples who understand nothing,
who fell asleep while the Lord was suffering. Has my life fallen
asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who did not realize what it
was to betray Jesus? Or like that other disciple, who wanted to
settle everything with a sword?
I like them? Am I like Judas, who feigns love and then kisses the
Master in order to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?
Am I like those people in power who hastily summon a tribunal and
seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things,
if I do them, do I think that in this way I am saving the people?
I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I
wash my hands and dodge my responsibility, allowing people to be
or condemning them myself?
I like that crowd which was not sure whether they were at a
religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and then chose Barabbas?
For them it was all the same: it was more entertaining to
I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, insult him,
who find entertainment in humiliating him?
I like the Cyrenean, who was returning from work, weary, yet was
good enough to help the Lord carry his cross?
I like those who walked by the cross and mocked Jesus:
so courageous! Let him come down from the cross and then we will
believe in him!" Mocking
I like those fearless women, and like the mother of Jesus, who
were there, and who suffered in silence?
I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who lovingly carries the body
of Jesus to give it burial?
I like the two Marys, who remained at the Tomb, weeping and
I like those leaders who went the next day to Pilate and said, "Look, this man said that he was going to rise again. We
cannot let another fraud take place!", and who block life, who
block the tomb, in order to maintain doctrine, lest life come
is my heart? Which of these persons am I like? May this question
remain with us throughout the entire week.
Pope Francis' Homily, Sunday, April 13, 2014, St. Peter's Square, Rome
the article Crown of Thorns