8 Great Reflections on the Passion

Palm Sunday (Year A)
By Fr. Victor Feltes

Today’s Gospel is long, but this reading is rich. So here, briefly, are eight great reflections on the Passion.

  • At the Last Supper, Jesus told his apostles, “One of you will betray me.” They each replied, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” except for Judas Iscariot, who said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” (Rabbi means teacher.) There is a big difference between Jesus just being a teacher and being your Lord.
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus lovingly willed to save us but his humanity understandably dreaded the tortures his self-sacrifice could entail. He prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” In this, Jesus shows us that we are allowed to pray for any good thing, even for ourselves, if we remain open to God’s will.
  • When Judas arrived in the Garden, he approached Jesus and kissed him saying, “Hail, Rabbi!” Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Jesus did not say this sarcastically; Jesus would die for Judas. Our Lord remains a friend towards us even if we betray him.
  • When the guards and soldiers laid hands on Jesus to arrest him, Peter struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear with a sword. But Jesus commanded his disciple to sheathe the sword. Christian violence cuts off the ears of our enemies’ servants making them unable to hear the Gospel.
  • At his religious trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus responded with silence, until the high priest said, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Then Jesus affirmed it was so. Even when the high priest’s judgment was erring, Jesus obeyed his legitimate religious authority.
  • In his trial before Pilate, the governor hoped to let Jesus go: “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?” The name “Barabbas” means “the son of the father.” Barabbas was a murderous rebel, a political revolutionary. Like the crowd that day, every generation is tempted to choose a different savior than Christ.
  • On his Cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the beginning of the 22nd Psalm. That psalm says, “They have pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.” Not only did this psalm prophesy Christ’s sufferings but also his resurrection, saying, “I will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve you.”
  • Finally, when Jesus died, “the veil of the sanctuary (inside the temple, which separated the place of God’s presence from the rest) was torn in two from top to bottom.” This veil was torn from the top as an act of God. Formerly, only the Jewish priests could even enter the building. Now, today, we as Christians are invited to approach and adore and receive our Lord in his temple.

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