Palm Sunday 2011

In preparing to celebrate the Passion of the Lord, one of the Gospels from the weekday Masses of the Fifth Week of Lent caught my attention, it is the one which contained Jesus’ proclamation that when He is lifted up He would draw all people to Himself[1]. You know, the suffering of our Lord was necessary for all people. Christianity is not just a belief system for a select group of people. All people are saved by Jesus Christ, even good people searching for God, who have not received the grace to become Christian. By dying on the cross Jesus re-established mankind’s ability to be united to God. Jesus’ death gives all people spiritual life. This is what we mean when we use the term: redemptive suffering[2].

In the mystery of the Redemptive Suffering of the Lord, we participate in the cross of Christ. St. Paul put it this way in his Letter to the Colossians: in my body I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His Body, which is the Church[3]. We all are. We all are making up for what is lacking. But how can their be a deficiency in Christ’s sacrifice? Well, the answer is this: we are entrusted with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. The only way we can do this is by living the Life of Christ. That is why we are called Christians. We make Christ real in the world. Our living His Life includes our embracing His Sacrifice. We unite our pains and sorrows to the Lord as our part in making the presence of the Suffering Savior real in the world.

I wish I could tell you that pain does not exist and that you can make it go away with your mind. But that is not the human condition. One of the great beauties of our faith is that there is value in every aspect of the Christian’s life, even those aspects of life that are full of pain. So we give it all to the Lord. We give Him our joy and our pain. If our health is poor or failing, if our lives are not going as we hoped, whatever pain we have, we give it to Him. We unite everything to the Cross so others can experience the Sacrificial Love of Jesus in our lives.

Let me ask you this, Have you ever met a truly holy person? If you have, and I am sure we all have, we can’t help but realize that for that person, pain is secondary. The only thing that matters for him or her is Christ. And his or her very suffering provides us with the experience of Christ’s Redemptive Presence. He or she is making up for what is lacking in the Cross of Christ: the participation of His people.

We focus on the cross today, and throughout this Holy Week. We unite our pains to Jesus’ pains. We receive His healing through His Cross. And we bring His Healing to others by allowing them to experience the Power of the Cross at work in our lives. We are called to participate in Redemptive Suffering ■

[1] Cfr John 12:32.
[2] Sunday 17th April, 2011, Passion (Palm) Sunday. Readings: 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. Matthew 26:14 – 27:66.
[3] Col 1:24. 
Ilustration: Giordano, Luca (1634 - 1705), The Raising of the Cross. 

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