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Jesus' Triumphant Entry to Jerusalem
Palm or Passion Sunday
The Sufferings of Christ
If you will be asked to write your own eulogy, how will it be like? Will you focus on the good things that you have done in this world? Or will you try to sugar-coat your wrongdoings in the past to justify them? Or just like in many eulogies, will you try to even canonize yourself as if one of the Saints equal to the ranks of Mother Theresa, St. Francis of Assisi, or the great doctors of the Church like St. Thomas Aquinas and Augustine?
[Eulogy, from the Greek word “Eulogia” derivative of the words “Eu” meaning “praise” and “logia” meaning “speaking.” It is, therefore, a discourse of praise said about a person especially the deceased person.]
Today, we hear a long discourse about the Passion of Christ and to many of us, we could say that it was a horrible death; it was sad; it was cruel for indeed it was. But if there was one thing in the entire account that I think most painful, it would be the very moment when Jesus said these very last words until he breathed his last: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” Imagine Jesus, crying out these very words out loud, helpless, in pain, and in sorrow. He was a God, His Father could have done something and yet, the plan has to be fulfilled. He has to die for us all to save us! That is the MYSTERY OF THE CROSS! The mystery that saved us all, the CROSS, which is a sign of our faith.
The main goal of St. Matthew’s account of the Passion is to increase our faith and to bring us to believe in Jesus Christ as Son of God, the Messiah and King. Amidst the conspiracy of the ruling powers like Caiaphas and Pilate getting rid of Him as a political threat, Jesus’ kingship prevailed conquering even death itself. In this account of the passion, we find meaning in our own struggles to fight for the truth, in spiritual healing which people of today truly needs. Healing from a “death-oriented society”; healing from doubts and confusion with regards our faith; and healing from useless anxieties caused by man’s insensitivity. And so, when Jesus said: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” He was not actually crying for his Father to save Him. His was actually a cry of forgiveness and healing for humanity. To let go of his mortal body in order that our own bodies too may find salvation. The big question that we can therefore ask ourselves is: “If Christ conquered even death on the cross which was painful, cruel and unjust, why can’t we endure our own crosses when in so doing we share in the very victory of Christ?”
On this feast of Palm Sunday, Christians recall and mark the joyous and triumphant entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. The main message of this feast is that the acceptance of the cross is the only road to ultimate victory and happiness. It is to accept our cross even if it means a painful and sad death.
And so, if I am to make my own eulogy or ask someone to do mine, I would focus on the very day when I was the weakest. In times when I thought, there was no hope and so expose my vulnerability. I would narrate it the way St. Mark did in his account of the Passion of Christ without sugar-coating some events so as to appear venerable or blessed. I would not tell in words any sign of praise to myself. If there be any mention of praise at all, I’ll make sure that it points to the ONE who’s most deserving of all our praises, to the ONE who truly suffered that we may live. Amen.