April 14 - Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)
Apr 13, 2019
Scripture: Palm or Passion Sunday likes to juxtapose the triumphal entry into Jerusalem where people praise Jesus and welcome him as the messiah/king with the march of Jesus' cross to Golgatha. We have the people starting out with "Hosanna, Son of David," ending with a sign on the cross that read "The King of the Jews." Remembering yesterday's blog, we see how Jesus truly is the King of the Jews (recognized from that moment until now) upon his resurrection and ascension there will be an eternal king of the Jews. Even the criminal on the cross begged to be a part of that kingdom, "Remember me, when you go into your kingdom." Having two Gospels, one being very long, it is easy to forget or miss the other two. Please don't! The second reading is from Philippians 2, many scholars believe that it was an original creed that St. Paul included in the letter, a summation of a great truth of how it was possible to have Father and Son as God when the Jewish Shema tells every Jew that God is One. It is one of the earliest formulations that precedes the formal explanation of the Trinity that was later developed. As I have pointed out time and again on this blog, the Trinitarian life is like respiration, you must give everything away (exhale) and if you stop there, you will die. You must be willing to receive goodness from God (inhale) and if you stop there, you will die. The pattern is to give all things away to the Father for his glory and to be open to receive all good things from the Father to sustain you. As I said in yesterday's blog as well, Jesus was fulfilling scriptures. How could the first reading be fulfilled about Jesus having his beard plucked, turning his face like flint to be struck, and enduring the buffeting and spitting. How could Psalm 22 be fulfilled except through crucifixion (the psalm of the day)? Everyone expected an earthly ruler who was interested in earthly thrones, armies, and politics. What they got was a Messiah more interested in souls than soldiers, charity than prosperity, and compassion over passion. Today we see that God himself has given everything to be with us. We must respond great love to great love if our relationship is going to work.
Core Faith Principle: It is very interesting but confusing to talk about one of the Person's of the Trinity could "empty Himself and take the form of a slave." To become limited to human nature. I could fill a daily blog with interesting ideas for an entire year on this topic, but for now we shall keep it simple so as not to lose focus on the day at hand. We began Lent with the temptations of Jesus in the desert. Though the temptations are far more complex then they at first appear, they are only effective in that Jesus has emptied himself and became human. The Father cannot be tempted, for in every temptation is hidden a lie, and the Father is all knowing; he cannot be deceived. As we learn from Adam and Eve, whose life Jesus was born to (without original sin), humanity can be deceived due to their limitations of knowledge. Jesus has desires where the Father is always by nature satisfied. However, we see a difference between Adam and Eve and Jesus in that Jesus relies not on serpents in the garden, not on a spouse, but on the Father alone. He did what Adam and Eve never sought to do, constantly and always ask the Father for help. Imagine the story of Adam and Eve if she said, "I desire this fruit for its wisdom and it looks good to eat, let me consult the Lord who made us, who walks in the garden with us, and ask if it is true that he wishes us not to be like him." With this human power of prayer (conversation with God) what could have been different? Yet creatures relied on creatures instead of the Word of God and the world fell into destruction. The Son of God relied only on the Word of God his Father and redeemed the world.
Practicing this at Home: If you don't have a cross in your home yet, get one. This is the week to take your children, of all ages, and point to it, and explain it. If it is a crucifix, explain to your child that it is Jesus on the cross. If it is a simple wood cross or decorated cross, explain to them why that reminder is there. It is the instrument of our salvation. Don't feel like you know enough, can't find the words to explain so complicated a gift in simple language? Here is how I might do it for a Kindergarten age child.
"Do you see that? That is the cross.
Do you know who is on it? That is Jesus.
Who is Jesus? Jesus is God.
What is he doing on the Cross? Jesus is saving us from our sins.
Why is Jesus on the Cross? Because Jesus loves you with all his heart.
Why do we hang this cross here? To remind us that Jesus loves us with all his heart and to remember that we should love each other like Jesus loves us.
Do you love mommy and daddy? We love you too.
(Do you love your brothers and sisters? They love you too.)
This week we celebrate that special love that Jesus showed us."