Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,
Passion Sunday! Palm Sunday! It’s a day we remember both the victory march and a journey of suffering. As we listen to the Passion of Our Lord we come across a lot of characters that we can relate with. Let us meditate on Simon and Veronica.
Simon of Cyrene just happened to be passing by. But it becomes a decisive moment in his life. He was returning from the fields. A working man, a strong man. And so he was forced to carry the cross of Jesus, condemned to a shameful death. But this casual encounter led to a life-changing decision to follow Jesus and to take up his cross each day in self-denial. Mark tells us that Simon was the father of two Christians known to the community of Rome, Alexander and Rufus. A father who clearly impressed upon the hearts of his children the power of Jesus’ cross. Life, if you grasp it too tightly, decays and turns to dust. But if you give it away, it blossoms and bears fruit, for you, your family and for the entire community!
Veronica, who wiped his face, took his image home. Veronica, a true image of a woman’s tender love. Here the Lord embodies our need for love freely given, for the knowledge that we are loved and kept safe by acts of kindness and concern. Veronica’s gesture is bathed in the precious blood of Jesus; it seems to wipe away the acts of irreverence which he endured in those hours of torture. Veronica is able to touch the gentle Jesus, to feel something of his radiance. Not only to alleviate his pain, but to share in his suffering. In Jesus, we have to see all our neighbors who need to be consoled with a tender touch, and have to hear the cries of pain of all those who, in our own day, receive neither practical assistance nor the warmth of compassion. Our call is to be another Simon and Veronica in our own time.
Today, we are taking something home too. We are all going to carry a piece of blessed palm home. It is a piece of a tree, but it’s a symbol. The question is, can we acclaim Jesus the King of our lives? Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him – betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this King to usher in his kingdom? Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on a donkey, upon a colt, the foal of a donkey. The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover. Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of Glory: Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That the King of Glory may come in. Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of Glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory? “Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of Glory?” Just like the people proclaimed Jesus as their King. As you place this palm in your home, welcome Jesus as the King of your family, work place and your entire life.
God Bless You,