April 13, 2014 - Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:32 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:11 PM ]

Gospel of Matthew 26:14 to 27:66

Kristenne's Reflection
Today's gospel is quite a narrative. We hear the story of a man's journey to his death. We see him pray because he is troubled by what God has sent him to do. We see him betrayed by his closest friends. We see him judged by others and sentenced to death in the most cruelest and humiliating of ways. And yet, we see a man, who although struggles, shows us that we can be reborn even in the darkest situations.

When I was kid, I noticed the Christ's Passion story was usually met with observations of great sorrow and solemn moments. Sometimes people were so overwhelmed that they cried. I recall crying a couple of times too because I was so mad to see someone die who didn't deserve to die. I thought, "It's not fair! Why should he die? Why did people not see who he was?" It frustrated me because, in the Gospel, they judged him so harshly that it led to Jesus' death. I wonder if other people ever had that same thought.

Now that I'm a little bit older and have spent time lectoring and discussing readings with other people, I've come to see something more than I originally did when I was a kid. I felt sad because a man was beaten and killed and no one defended him. And yet, at Mass today, we will be the crowd to yell, "Crucify him!" When we look at the story from the outside looking in, we become like Pilate washing our hands of the situation saying we are not responsible.

But we are.

We go through each and everyday making mistakes because we are human. Sometimes we accept those mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes we are too ashamed to take the blame and we don't give ourselves and others the chance to forgive. We deny Jesus in those moments of when we can't own up to our faults. And more so when we don't accept others for who they are because we judge too quickly.

I work at an after school program with 6th-8th graders and they can be a handful. One day, the students were acting up and being extra rowdy that it stressed me to the point where I felt broken and couldn't take it anymore. To make matters worse  two of the students snuck off to a nearby coffee shop. The students aren't supposed to leave the campus unless a staff is with them and the drinks they bought were full of sugar.

When I saw them hiding trying to come back in though the parking garage, I was so mad I was about to lash out all my frustrations from the day at them. To yell at them saying they made a wrong choice and that they were being irresponsible.

I was about to, but I didn't. Instead, I took a deep breath and asked them to hand over the drinks. I asked them to explain to me what happened and why they chose to do what they did. It was not easy to do this, but I listened with an open mind and heart. After the initial rude comments we got to the reason of why the two of them left. It was because they were hungry.

We can often forget that people have the simplest needs in their lives and that usually they don't act out of hate or cruelty, but out of desperation. Jesus shows us that we should try to understand that and accept the people around us. If we don't try, we will  be doing the same thing they did in this gospel. And we might not even realize it. Let us pray for guidance during that time and even when it feels like the task ahead is impossible, that there will always be hope.

Alfred's Reflection

I find it hard to say anything at all about the Gospel reading. Every time I read it or watch a depiction of the Lord’s Passion, I get overwhelmed because there is so much going on and the significance of it all makes me just want to sit in reflective silence. To soak it all in.

"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Jesus said this to his disciples when they could not stay awake and pray with him while he agonized about his upcoming suffering and death. Most of us think that we’d be there for our best friend in their time of need. Even more so that we’d be there for Jesus. The disciples wanted to do the right thing but something kept them from doing it.

"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." I wonder if Jesus is saying this to us now. I like to think of myself as good person and I try to do the right thing all the time, but there are often times that I wonder if I do enough. Am I doing enough to help make sure that the poor are fed? or that everyone has access to higher education and employment? Am I reaching out to get to know and help strangers? I should be doing these things and want to. What is getting in the way? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." So, here we are at the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus is calling us to stay with him and to pray. What for? How about a prayer of thanksgiving for the Eucharist, that we become more worthy of Heaven in sharing a meal with Christ? Or maybe a prayer to say sorry for the sins that we commit that add to Jesus’ burden as he pays the price for those sins by dying and going to Hell? Or a prayer of gladness and joy that Jesus’ resurrection makes it possible for us to go to Heaven? The important thing is to pray alongside Jesus, to have a conversation to God the Father.

It is time to make both the spirit and the flesh willing to answer Jesus’ call. What is more important than saying yes and having His back?