PALM SUNDAY Inaugurates HOLY WEEK

Palm Sunday reminds us of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the fanfare with which He was received—crowds acclaiming Hosanna to the Son of David. Only a few days later the same crowd would call for Jesus’ condemnation. How soon the tide of political opinion turned against the Lord. The same is true of our lives too. It’s always better to put our trust in the Lord.
Palm Sunday has inaugurated the Holy Week that encompasses all the tragedies one could think of; but in the sight of God, all these would be turned into triumph through the glorious resurrection of Christ.
A cross has its own connotation depending on each person and the circumstance in which one is in and generally denotes any kind of pain or suffering that a Christian is called to take on and follow the Lord. A cross of poverty may not be a stark reality for those within the United States as much as for an impoverished family living in a third world country. A health issue may be easily treated for someone with the means to get healthcare, but to someone who doesn’t have the means, it could be a terrible crisis.
The cross could be a personal suffering wrought by failures, disappointments, sickness, family feuds or loss of a loved one. It could be financial instability or loss of employment. Whatever the case maybe we tend to get absorbed into the problems themselves and lose sight of the eternal perspective. We lose sight of what our Lord went through to secure our redemption.
We often bear the pangs emanating from our difficult situation and lose sight of the Christian dimension of suffering itself. We lose our peace of mind and struggle with restlessness. But there is power in the cross. The cross is redemptive only because of Jesus.
This Holy Week is loaded with all the human suffering that one can possibly imagine: our Lord’s agony in the garden in moments of loneliness where his sweat becomes blood, the betrayal by his friends and their abandonment, the deep sorrow that overcomes Him, the humanness of His crisis, the very people for whom He performed miracles of casting out demons and healing and the utter rejection by them. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. He dealt with physical suffering—the scourging, the crown of thorns. He was ridiculed by the mob and suffered His own uncertainty of enduring the passion, the crucifixion and agonious death on the cross.
How close Christ is to us through these sufferings. And yet we are invited to take up our own cross and follow the Lord. If our Lord and Master should endure this, who are we to complain about our crosses. Yet let us remind ourselves that God will not allow an ounce of suffering beyond what we can handle and He will also give us the strength. When we endure all the vicissitudes of our life with a Christian resignation, we will see for ourselves how redemptive these very situations can become.
Fr. Narsilio, an elderly Salesian Missionary to India, after his laborious active life, was confined to the Provincial House and I would often go see this inspiring patriarch. He would repeat this Italian poem to me:
When I was born a voice told me, “You are born to carry your cross.” I embraced and carried the cross that the heaven assigned to me.
Then I looked, and I looked, and I looked, Behold all were carrying their crosses.

It’s good to remind ourselves that we are not alone when we carry our cross. There is company–The Lord and others. Our sufferings can become meaningful as long as we keep our eyes focussed on Jesus on the Cross.

Anglican