April 5, 2020
Palm Sunday A
Fr. Ed Smith
Isaiah 50: 4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26: 14-27:66
This weekend the Church celebrates Palm Sunday, which lets us know that Lent is basically over and now we enter holy Week. Throughout the season of Lent, we haver eflected on important moments in the life of Christ. We explored the temptation of Jesus in the desert, His transfiguration on the mountain, His gift of Living Water to the amaritan woman at the well, His miracle of bringing sight to the man who was born blind, and His gift of life to His dear friend Lazarus who had died a few days before. Now, as we gather for Palm Sunday, we reflect on an important question: “Why did Jesus have to suffer?” Today we meditate on that suffering as we read the Passion narrative in St. Matthew’s Gospel. This question of suffering is significant. Jesus did not suffer in order to appease an angry and vengeful God. Rather, His suffering is an action of profound love: a love that redeems, reconciles and heals. Jesus, in His suffering, unites Himself to the human situation and shows us that pain and affliction, as terrible as they can be, are part of everyone’s life, but are not the final words about our lives. As St. Paul reminds us in our second reading, Jesus accepted suffering and death, and because of this “He is highly exalted,” and that every tongue will confess that “JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” So, we see that suffering, love and forgiveness are intimately related, and are central to the Passion of Jesus. And since all of us will surely suffer at one time or another in life, it is precisely in the willingness of Jesus to suffer for us that we begin to understand that it is only through love that suffering can have any meaning. This is why we exalt Jesus on this Palm Sunday, and we see that Jesus answers all the deepest questions of our life, and does so not just with His words, but with His own life, which is an example of pure love.