Palm Passion Sunday ~ 10 April 2022 ~ Bible readings for Mass: Gospel: Luke 19: 28-40; I: Isaiah 50:4-7: Responsorial: Psalm 22: II: Philippians 2:6-11; Gospel: Luke 22: 14 – 23:56
Lent is drawing to a close. Perhaps it has been a season of great blessing and grace for us. Perhaps our intentions and hopes for a special time of growing closer to our Savior have been not all we hoped for. Regardless we must remember that as much as we seek God in our lives God seeks us even more. But we may wonder if God is seeking us why is growing closer to our Lord so challenging? The answers are diverse but many answers to that question are found in Holy Week. It is easy, it is a blessing to join in the joyful welcome and praise of Christ as he comes into Jerusalem. But the subsequent harsh realities of the Holy Passion of Jesus embraced and expressed as Jesus takes His cross is far less inviting. But the invitation, the promise of God stands true. If we are to know Jesus, to follow Him, we too must take up that cross and follow in His holy steps.
To follow and draw closer to our God we must first learn to Listen for God, daily, and in each moment of our lives. Even if we think “we have heard this before”, even and especially then we need to carefully Listen. This Sunday, Palm Passion Sunday gives us a powerful opportunity to do that. The Bible readings are long. There are two readings from the Gospel and the second Gospel covers the entire Passion of our Lord. Please take the time to prayerfully read and listen to all the readings from the Liturgy of the Word. Read, Listen seeking, and expecting the whisper of the Holt Spirit to reach your heart.
It is as we walk with Jesus during these very holy days. The forces at work, the struggles of the disciples, and the response of Jesus, day by day and then moment by moment can bring us into a deeper relationship with our Lord. In all this, we would do well to ask, What is going on within the heart of Jesus? To grow in this realization let us look to the Gospel of John.
John’s Gospel shares these insights in chapters 13 through 17. It covers the loving holy instructions, commands, and prayers of Jesus just prior to going to the Garden of Gethsemane. This dialogue is shared in the great liturgical event that would provide the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, for the Church until He returns. But it is not a liturgical lecture on rubrics and practices. It is a message of eternal, infinite power and simplicity.
Yet with all that was happening to Jesus, and with His followers, with the battles of fear, doubt, and uncertainty they faced, Jesus would provide the essential oil of the Holy Spirit to empower them to… LISTEN and follow Him in God’s new command. This command would become the marching orders for His Church. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34-35) Then, after warning them of their own failings God reassures the: “Let not your hearts be troubles; believe in God, believe also in me…” (John 14:1). He then calls upon them to grow on in His Truth (John 14:6; 16-12-14). This all will be done as they abide in His Presence, His Word, His Love, (John 15: 4-12).
To Love, Trust, and Grow in the Truth that is Christ, to abide in Him, this is the essence of what Jesus shares from His heart in those holy moments before He goes to the Garden and prays to His Father.