“Love has a way of remembering, a million and one yesterdays. Love has a way of reliving the memories no joy can replace.”
This Sunday is full of reminders which upon closer examination will reveal essential truth in our lives. Jesus knew fully well what awaited Him in Jerusalem. He knew that the acclamations, the praises and the palms would turn into mockery, insults and scourges within a week. He knew that the royal welcome would lead into the utter humiliation of the crucifixion. And so we come to Church today bearing palm fronds in our hands as symbols that we praise Him and acclaim Him as King of our lives yet more often than not, it would not even take a week, nor a day, before we crucify again our Lord and Master. Today is a reminder that even after almost two thousand years, even after He is worshiped as King and Lord, His passion, death and resurrection continues to this very day. And the biggest mistake in love would be to forget. Every time we forget, we sin. Every time we forget the meaning of His passion, death and resurrection, it loses its power to transform us. Every time we forget, we crucify Him once again. And so after the Mass, let us put our palm fronds some place where it can continually remind us. It will soon, like us, dry up, wilt and fall every now and then, but nonetheless, it stays and never forgets.
The green palm fronds that we bring each year during Palm Sunday is also a sign of God’s faithfulness and unwavering love. In each leaf, we see God’s sustenance of life continues, that even though we continue to sin and fall, God continues to love and He never gives up on us.
Today also reminds us that our lives on this world is a way of the Cross and that we must carry our Cross after Jesus. The world is full of inevitable suffering because it’s not where the perfect life we long for can be found. Suffering exists because of our own imperfections, sufferings which more often than not, we lay on the shoulders of innocent ones to carry. The Passion of the Suffering Servant in the First Reading reminds us that sufferings will not cease to exist when we begin to serve the Lord but rather sufferings will begin to have a meaning and power to make us better. It reminds us that suffering is real when we turn away from the selfish ways of the world. Yet the greatest consolation we can have is that we are never alone in this journey. Jesus is with us and we are together. Once we realize this, we’ll believe that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light”. And we will experience His words, “Take my yoke upon and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” The Psalm reminds us that in the moments of god-forsakenness, the presence of God can be revealed in us when we emulate His love that repays evil with good. St Paul reminds us that every time we suffer and want to unburden ourselves, we must run to Jesus for He can fully understand and in His embrace, our pain will drown in the ocean of His love. And that our pains are not meaningless but all remembered and will serve as our crown of glory.
Finally, the Passion of our Lord reminds us that despite our failures, flaws, pains and sufferings, we loved with a love that knows no bounds. We are reminded that we are never forgotten, that we can always be forgiven and that we can always be redeemed and saved by love alone. Christ died for all of us yet we must also impress upon our minds that Jesus would still do it even if for us alone. Jesus’ salvation can happen in the life of each one of us if we will allow Him to enter our lives and to save us from every moment of god-forsakenness and pain.
Christ entered Jerusalem many years ago to establish His Kingdom. The Crucifixion is a conquest not of an earthly kingdom but of a Kingdom of Hearts. The power of the Crucified is the power to elicit love even from the hardest of hearts. For love can only beget love. For love can truly conquer all if we surrender into it. Yet love even though it surrounds us can only fill us if we open our hearts. Forever is real if we never forget and Jesus can always be with us in our hearts and so we sing: “We remember how you loved us to your death and still, we celebrate for you are with us here. And we believe that we will see you, when you come in your glory, Lord, we remember, we celebrate, we believe.”
1st Reading: Is 50:4-7
Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
2nd Reading: Phil 2:6-11
Gospel: Lk 22:14-23:56