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🌴REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 24, 2024: Sunday

“Being intimate with the Passion of the Lord and experiencing His tremendous Love as we enter, with Faith and Hope, into the ‘Holy Week’”

(Based on the Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion)

The cute story of little Johnny who was sick on one particular Palm Sunday is worth recounting.

His sickness had prevented him from going to Church that day and he had to stay home with his mother.

His father returned from church, that Sunday, holding a palm branch.

The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, Dad?"

With joy, Daddy replied, "You see, Johny… When Jesus came into town, everyone waved palm branches to welcome and honour Him; so we got palm branches today"

"Aww, Good Lord!” grumbled little Johnny, "The one Sunday I can't go to church, and Jesus shows up!"

The innocence of Li'l Johny made him feel that He had missed the Lord when He came to town.

But when we think a little deeper, we also realise, that sometimes we are similar…
We fail to take notice of the Presence of the Lord very many times!

And it’s only when we “feel His absence” that we recognize the depth of “missing His Presence!”

Yes, “absence sometimes, can be a great reminder of the value of presence!”
(Just like it's only when we lose something, we realise its value and significance! )

These are days when we are invited and challenged to revive the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love…
… which “give us a disposition to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church – CCC #1812)

We are invited to check how much we value “His Presence”…

At every Holy Mass, the Lord, really, substantially and truly comes to us in the Holy Eucharist.

Have we failed to see Him and thus to experience the true effects of His Nourishment?

Every moment, we have His Holy Word in the Bible, through which the Lord reveals and teaches more about Himself.

Do we miss the chance to read and experience Him?

Every now and then, we encounter the Lord through different situations and in many people in need who are in despair and in trouble.

Do we miss the opportunity to serve Him and to learn from Him?

Today we are entering into one of the most important weeks of the Liturgical year - The Holy Week!

And we commemorate the start of this Holy Week, with the Passion Sunday, also known as the Palm Sunday.

On this Palm Sunday, we recollect the entry of the Lord into the town, riding on a donkey (Cf. Mk 11:7)

The donkey has a specific symbolism…

In the olden days, military officers engaged in war and battles would ride on the most efficient animals: the fast and furious warhorses.

But after the victory in the war, the victorious officers would parade into the city riding on… yes, a donkey.

That was the reason why the people shouted out when they saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

In the First book of the Kings 1: 38-4, we read of how Prince Solomon used the royal donkey of his father David, for the ceremonial procession on the day of his coronation.

The new Solomon, Jesus, the True Prince of Peace and the King of Kings today enters His city, Jerusalem on a donkey as well!

A new reign of peace was being signalled.
A new kingdom of love was being ushered.

Are we ready to welcome the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace into our lives?

He is not the glorious King of might and wealth…

But He is the Spectacular King who will reign on His throne of the Cross.

He is not the proud Emperor who parades much show and pomp…

But He is the Wonderful Lord who displays His compassion and love by His wounds!

Are we ready to welcome this King into…
Our lives?
Our homes?
Our hearts?

The Passion of the Lord is about to begin…

Are we going to be part of the people who crucify Him?
… or are we going to be people who repent of sins and seek to live a life worthy of the King?

Many of us would have read the following, with a picture of Jesus Christ crucified…
“I asked Jesus, how much do you love me?"
And Jesus answered, "This much"
And He extended His arms on the cross…

But there's a sequel to this, which perhaps is not known much, but is worth reflecting on…
Jesus then asked me, "How much do you love me"
I picked up the hammer and the nails….
saying, "This is how much I love You!"
… and began to crucify Him!

The Passion of the Lord is a result of our sins…
The Crucifixion of the Lord is a consequence of our disobedience…

As Isaiah would say, "It was our infirmities that He bore and it was our sufferings that He endured" (Is 53:4)

He died for love of us.
He suffered to save each of us.

Are we going to remain stubborn and adamant and continue to be a people who shout, "Crucify Him"…
… Or shall we repent, fall on our knees, seek a transformation, and, with palm branches in our hands
… truly exclaim and acclaim Jesus as the Lord, shouting, "Hosanna to the King of Kings! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

Many of us are just happy to be part of the “city crowd”…
… remain there and once in a way, shout Hosanna, and be happy!

But the Lord says: Leave the city and climb Calvary

"He who wishes to follow me, must deny, take up the cross daily and follow!" (Mt 16:24)

We must realise that Christianity without the Cross is impossible…

No Cross, no crown!
No wounds, No blessings!
No offering, no happiness!

We have the palms with us now - they are fresh and green.

But in a few days, they will turn dry.

Singing and shouting Hosanna is easy, when everything is fresh and green.

But can we keep the same spirit, even when things dry up…
… or will we end up saying, Crucify Him!

Let us truly make this week, a “holy week"…
… by making a confession of our sins, and making suitable amendments
… be deciding to read the Bible every day, without fail
… by spending time with Jesus, in personal prayer, every day
… by repairing some 'toxic' relationships - asking the “gift of forgiveness and healing of these relationships" from the Lord

Wish you a Blessed Palm Sunday…
… and a Glorious Holy Week!

Let us be intimate with the Passion of the Lord and experience His tremendous love…
… so that we too may worthily and honestly shout, on Easter Sunday, "Alleluia! He is risen!"

God Bless! Live Jesus!