Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

In the course of the entire liturgical year, Palm Sunday is the only occasion, besides Good Friday, in which the Gospel of Christ's Passion is read. Not being able to comment on the whole long narrative, I would like to share with you some brief ideas about the tremendous chapter of the Lord on the Mount of Olives[1]. The French philosopher Pascal[2] wrote that «Christ is in agony on the Mount of Olives until the end of the world. He should not be abandoned during this whole time»[3].

My brothers and sisters, the Lord is in agony wherever there is a human being that struggles with sadness, fear, anxiety, in a situation where there is no way out, as he was that day. We can do nothing for the Jesus who was suffering then but we can do something for the Jesus who is in agony today. Every day we hear of tragedies that occur, sometimes in our own neighborhood, in the house across the street, without anyone being aware of it.

How many Mount of Olives, how many Gethsemanes in the heart of our cities and parishes! Let us not abandon those who are there within.

On the cross Jesus expiated in advance all the atheism that exists in the world, not only that of declared atheists, but also that of practical atheists, the atheism of those who live as if God did not exist relegating him to the last place in their life.

It is our atheism, because, in this sense, we are all atheists –some more, some less- those who do not care about God. God too is one of the marginalized today; he has been pushed to the margins of the lives of the majority of men.

Here too it is necessary to say with Pascal Jesus is on the cross until the end of the world. He is in all the innocent who suffer. He is nailed to the cross of the gravely ill. The nails that hold him fast on the cross are the injustices that are committed against the poor, against the life, against the innocents[4].

In all of the depictions of the deposition from the cross, the figure of Joseph of Arimathea always stands out[5]. He represents all of those who, even today, challenge the public opinion, to draw near to the condemned, the excluded, those sick with AIDS, and who are occupied with helping some of them to descend from the cross.

For some those who are crucified today, the designated and awaited Joseph of Arimathea could very well be I or you. This morning in the middle of the celebration of the mass let us think about it and ask, trough the intercession of our blessed Mother the Virgin Mary the courage we need ■

[1] Sunday 5th April, 2009, Passion (Palm) Sunday. Isaiah 50:4-7. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?—Ps 21(22):8-9, 17-20, 23-24. Philippians 2:6-11. Mark 14:1 – 15:47. [St Vincent Ferrer]
[2] Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. The Pensées (literally, "thoughts") represented a defense of the Christian religion. Pascal's religious conversion led him into a life of asceticism, and the Pensées was in many ways his life's work. The Pensées is in fact a name given posthumously to his fragments, which he had been preparing for an Apology of Christian Religion which was never completed.
[3] Pensées, 553.
[4] There is a brief story. In a Nazi concentration camp a man was hung. Someone, pointing at the victim, angrily asked a believer who was standing next to him: “Where is your God now?” “Do you not see him?” he answered. “He is there hanging from the gallows”.
[5] Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. A native of Arimathea, he was apparently a man of wealth, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin, which is the way literally “counselor”, in Matthew 27:57 and Luke 23:50 is often interpreted. Joseph was an “honourable counsellor, who waited (or "was searching") for the kingdom of God”, according to Mark 15:43. In John 19:38 he was secretly a disciple of Jesus: as soon as he heard the news of Jesus' death, he “went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus”.
Ilustration: Circle of Pietro Novelli (Italian) The Agony in the Garden (about 1640?), Pen and brown ink, brown wash, and black chalk 11 3/8 x 8 3/8 in. 94.GA.96 . Getty Museum of Art.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris