Palm Sunday opens the Holy Week

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

ON Palm Sunday, we will be having a very long gospel reading that narrates the very passion and death of Christ, our Redeemer. (cfr. Mt 26,14-27-66) Our human reaction to this day may be different from what should be expected from us.

That’s understandable. But we should not miss the fact that with the Holy Week and the long readings and other extraordinary forms of penance and mortification asked of us these days, we are actually invited to enter into the very dynamic of the most sublime form of love that Christ is showing us through his passion, death and later his resurrection.

This is what we should bear in mind as strongly and as deeply as possible. That’s because what we are given during these days is the occasion to turn ourselves to be truly like Christ, which is what we are meant to be.

Christ is the very personification of love, the very essence of God that is also meant for us. Love, of course, is the sweetest and greatest thing we can ever have, but we can achieve that only in heaven. While here, that love, given our wounded condition, cannot be pursued and developed without the cross of Christ.

We just have to learn to reconcile ourselves with that truth of faith. Let’s not deceive ourselves by thinking that we can achieve love and everything that it brings—joy, peace, etc.—without going through the cross of Christ.

Christ himself said it very clearly. If we have to follow him, as we must, we should deny ourselves and carry the cross. That’s because we always have the strong, almost inherent tendency to think that our true joy is when we would just satisfy our natural needs as well as our infranatural, i.e., sinful, wants and desires.

We need to be liberated from such enslaving tendency of ours. And there’s no other way to do that than by following what Christ said, taught and showed us. Indeed, we have to learn to truly deny ourselves and carry the cross of Christ.

This definitely is a big challenge, a very tall order. We first of all have to overcome whatever doubts and disbelief we can have regarding this truth of faith. We need to truly enliven our faith. And then, we should start going through a training process and program so that we can turn into practice what our faith tells us.

In this regard, we can never overemphasize the need for us to have some effective plan of life that makes this truth of our faith as its directing and shaping principle. Everything else in our life should be animated by this principle—our personal and family life, our professional and social life, our business and politics, our sports and entertainment, our cultural pursuits, etc.

We need to help one another in this effort. We should try our best that we create a world culture that lives this kind of spirit and lifestyle, first by clarifying whatever misconceptions we can have with regard to this truth of our faith, and then by constantly fostering its practice.

Now, with the powerful technologies at hand, we should see to it that they are used primarily for this purpose. We can be sure that by using these technologies for this purpose, we would be truly using them properly, and avoid being deceived and misled by their many tempting conveniences and advantages they offer.

May everyone have a most meaningful Holy Week!