Text: Matt. 27:11-54(Shorter Form)
By Fr. Chidube Ubili
- Today, 5th April 2020, we celebrate Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week; the last phase of Lenten Season in preparation for the Greatest Christian Festival, Easter, the Feast of the resurrection of Christ.
–In previous years, the celebrations in Holy Week were essentially reenactments of the mysteries of Christ’s saving work to enable us, Christians unite ourselves with him spiritually and appropriate the graces therein.
- The 2020 Holy Week is very unique and special because of the menace of the dreaded and rampaging Corona Virus Disease, which surfaced in 2019; hence the nick name, COVID-19. Hence, Christians will not gather in Churches to re-enact what happened to Jesus with various liturgical rituals, which for some people are no more than “staged-drama outings”.
–We will not watch and review “what happened to Jesus”, from His entry into Jerusalem recalled today, Palm or Passion Sunday to His Resurrection, to be recalled next Sunday, 12th April, 2020.
- Our experience of COVID-19 has made us companions of Jesus in His passion. So, we are participants; not mere observers or spectators in the Passion of Christ which we celebrate this Holy Week: today, Palm Sunday to next Sunday, Easter Sunday..
–It is The Week in which Christ embarks on a journey; the last phase of His Life and Ministry during which He paid the ultimate price for human salvation, with His Body and Blood in His suffering, death and resurrection. With COVID-19, we are His companions on this journey.
- PALM SUNDAY: Today, Palm Sunday, we recall that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a Donkey as a very important person(VIP); indeed a King. Jerusalem was the capital city of ancient Israel; the religious and political center where landmark events happened. So, it was proper and fitting that Jesus visited Jerusalem during this last phase of His life to consummate His mission of human salvation, which has both religious and political values and consequences for the Jews.
—This was not the first and only visit of Jesus to Jerusalem. He went there with His parents for a passover feast(cf. Lk. 2:41ff) and went on His own for another passover festival(cf. Jn.2:13-17). But, this visit, the last one was different. It was not for any religious celebration, social event or political rally. He went to make the “ultimate sacrifice”; to offer His Life as a ransome for the people. But, they didn’t understand His rather “deadly mission”. So, they ushered Him into the City, heralding Him with shouts of “Hossana, King of David”, as He mounted on a Donkey and rode on palm leaves into the City.
- As we recall this event of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as Palm Sunday, we too have entered our “various homes, as our Jerusalem”; but not as we used to, for rest, fun, nourishment or relaxation. Rather, we entered our homes on forced lock-down of our life with a “Stay-At-Home”(SAH) order.
—While Jesus was in Jerusalem, various intrigues of animosity, envy, jealousy, manipulations and politicking played out which gave Him much pain and suffering. In like manner, our SAH is not funny at all. For most people, there is no light, no water, no food, no money; indeed no life-sustaining amenities. Its all stress, strain, tension, worry and anxiety that breeds much pain and suffering.
- So, we are together with Jesus, in His passion. This is our comfort and consolation; that we are not alone. As we have begun the journey with Jesus in His Passion, let us persevere and continue with Him to the end. As He overcame death in His resurrection, so we shall overcome all agents of death in our life, especially sin generally and COVID-19 in particular to rise to a new life at Easter. Amen.
– Apr. 6, 2020 @ 8:49 GMT |