The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ we just heard read is moving, haunting and humbling. Holy Scripture is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. What the inspired writer recorded is offered to teach and reassure us especially when we wonder and worry, and to motivate and empower us to look above and move forward with hope.
There are two passages in the Gospel we just read that seem especially worthy of reflection on this Palm and Passion Sunday. The first was when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark tells us that he began to feel sorrow and distress. Jesus said: “my soul is sorrowful even to death.” You and I can relate to that. And he said, Abba, Father, “all things ae possible to you, take this cup away from me” Those words touch our hearts as well. Yet he continued: “but not what I will but what you will”. God’s will is always better than we might wish for ourselves or understand at the moment. It was after these words that Jesus was betrayed, falsely condemned, beaten, denied and crucified. But there was a purpose to it all, the salvation of souls, and the forgiveness of sins. God so loved the world. Trusting in God’s way, even in our moments of sorrow and distress, wonder and worry, good can come; from darkness comes light.
The second passage we might reflect on is from the Last Supper. The Apostles are gathered with Jesus in the Upper Room. Mark tells us: “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said ‘Take it, this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them this is my blood which will be shed for many.” It is the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist. We recall the covenant; I will be your God if you will be my people. God keeps his word, we struggle a bit especially in times of challenge or temptation. The Holy Eucharist whether in direct or spiritual communion is one means by which God remains with us, keeps His covenant even when we do not. When we receive the consecrated bread and wine we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. This truth is a mystery and article of faith. From the Holy Eucharist if we are appropriately disposed to His real presence we will receive the grace to look above and move forward with hope. Christ is with us.
The Passion ends with Jesus in the tomb. Mary and the others await the dawn in sorrow and uncertainty. But we know the rest of the story. Our Lord overcame the dark time of his Passion and death, and rose again. Next week at Easter we will celebrate his glorious victory over sin and death. But first let us journey with Him this Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday, (at 7 p.m.) when we will recall the gift of the Holy Eucharist and our call to serve others as did he symbolized in the washing of the feet; then Good Friday (3 p.m.) when we will venerate the cross on which hung the Savior of the world, and the Easter Vigil on Saturday at (8:30 p.m.), the highest liturgy of the Church year when we will recall the Light of Christ rising again and welcome those receiving the sacraments of initiation and entering into full communion in the Church. If we walk this journey with our Lord, we will better appreciate the price Our Lord paid, the depth of His love, and the incredible gift of new life he won for us. It is all so moving, haunting and humbling. It is also true.
May we Give Praise to the Lord.