Sacrificing for a good cause

Sunday readings in brief: Palm Sunday A

Mathew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 21(22); Philippians 2:6-11). Mathew 26:14-27:66

Sacrificing for a good cause

Dear friends, today is Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus entered publicly into the city of Jerusalem like a king. For the last few weeks, Jesus has been hiding because the Jews wanted his blood. However, the triumphant entry today has got a lot of meaning for us as his followers. “Then they took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid, and went out of the temple” (Jn 8:59). “But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place” (Mt 12:15-16). Jesus hid only to reveal himself publicly and courageously today.

For the same reason, the Liturgy of the Church asks us to veil all the crucifixes and images in the Church. The crucifixes will be unveiled on Good Friday during the liturgy of the veneration of the cross, and the images during on the Easter Vigil. The veiling is symbolic and signifies fasting of the images that represent the glory of the resurrection. The cross is the sign of victory and the holy images of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints represent the triumph of the followers of Jesus. During these few days towards Easter, we want our minds and our thought to focus on the suffering of Christ that brought us salvation. When we go to Church, and find crucifixes and images covered our attention is drawn to think about what is covered. When Jesus died, the veil that separated the sanctuary and the holy of holies was torn as a symbol of the purpose of Jesus’s death, that is to unveil the Kingdom of God to all.

Today we commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem not to overthrow the incumbent government like many other kings did in the past, but to be crucified and die for all humanity. This is a very important point to underline. While other kings fought bloody battles to achieve freedom for themselves and their people, Jesus shed his own blood to achieve everlasting freedom for us. While other kings entered Jerusalem riding on horses, the beast that represents strength and power, Jesus rode on a donkey, a lowly beast that is often mistreated and ridden with overweight loads. No one asks the donkey how much weight can you carry.

The Prophet Isaiah describes how submissive the servant of Yahweh was at the time when he faced his tormentors. He was like a sheep being taken to slaughter. He did not offer any resistance. This made the sacrifice even more valuable and dignified. St. Paul adds that though Jesus was in the form of God, he did not take advantage of his status to scare away or destroy those who were inflicting suffering on him. He gave himself up and endured all humiliation and torture for a cause.

This is the greatest lesson for us his followers. As long as we live on earth, and really want to remain faithful to our Christian calling, we are bound to face a lot of suffering at the hands of the antichrist. Jesus invites us to imitate him and embrace the NON-VIOLENCE approach towards our suffering for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The biggest temptation is to resist and fight back against anything unpleasant directed at us. As lay people in our families, communities, and places of work, we are called to embrace non-violence. Church leaders are even more required to be non-violent at all times by the virtue of their vocation as they go on about their day-to-day mission. My experience as a Parish Priest and administrator has made this even more vivid to me. There are countless moments when I feel like resisting or fighting back against opposition and different kinds of stones thrown at my person. There are many occasions when my ego wants to demonstrate authority. The example of Jesus has helped me over the years to accept the fact that this is what my vocation entails. Violence always bears violence, and resistance only fuels the opposition.

The passion of Jesus also reveals two groups of characters that represent us even today. group one includes Judas who betrayed Jesus to make money. Peter, who was a few days before chest thumbing about how he would even give his life for Jesus, today denies even knowing him. The ignorant mob who just followed the waves is used by some power-angry leaders to call for the blood of someone who has been healing their sicknesses and teaching them how to attain true freedom from slavery. The chief priests have desecrated their position and role in society by joining politicians in their dirty methods to remain in power and relevance. Jesus was educating the people about their rights and true freedom and this meant the downfall of the leaders who thrived on the ignorance of the people.  

group two includes Simon who helped Jesus with the heavy cross. We are supposed to help others bear their crosses and not beat them down with our words and blows like the soldiers. Veronica took the courage to wipe blood and sweat from the face of Jesus to help him see the way. Mary his mother and Mary Magdalene his good friend accompanied him to the very end because they had understood his cause. Joseph of Arimathaea went out of his way and used his position to ask for Jesus’ body to rest in a dignified grave. In which of these two groups do you and I belong in our communities today?

Dear friends, Holy Week is a very significant moment in our lives as Christians. The events of this week are the foundation of our faith and all we live and hope for as Christians. Let us take advantage to relivr these moments that will definitely rekindle our dwindling faith.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: