Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Hour - Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009

Reflections on the Readings
Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009, Year B
By Dennis Hankins

Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1 - 15:47

Theme: The Hour

"It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed in the hands of sinners."  (Jesus)

The holiest days of Christian memory are upon us.  Today is Palm Sunday, a day marked by Hosanna's and Palms, but the hour of dereliction is near at hand.  Soon the rejoicing crowds will be replaced with throngs shouting, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"

Today's scriptures for the Mass reflect on 'the hour' when Jesus will embrace death, even death on a cross.  We reflect on these readings that we might rightly understand the events of this week.  Concluding this week is the Triduum, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Until the Easter Vigil beginning after sundown on Saturday, the holiest days of our faith.  

Good Friday is a holy day indeed. It is an ancient day filled with meaning beyond words; it is the day our Lord cried out, "My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?"  This cry marks the intensity of the 'hour' when God embraced all of man's misery of alienation by forsaking himself for all others.  O, the mystery of love divine! 

He humbled himself, not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped, rather he emptied himself from his Incarnation until his Crucifixion.  Jesus is God from God, light from light, yet he humbled himself for all of us, that he might taste for each of us the anguish of abandonment and alienation.   

Let us meditate on the import of Christ's cry from the Cross: "Why God, Why, Why have you forsaken me?"   For anyone who lives day after day wondering if there is any hope, any consolation, any incentive of love or affection and sympathy, it can be found in the face of Jesus.  It is him who in the destiny of 'his hour' refused to save himself, not because he was not God but because he is God.  For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:1)

In those uncertain hours when there is no friend to turn to, there is a friend who laid down his life for you.  He will never leave you, he will never forsake you.
Whenever you are alone you are never far from him who in his own abandonment draws near to you in yours. Jesus hears the cry of broken homes, abandoned children, the homeless and the hungry.  Still with us are the poor, the sick, the oppressed.  The cry of the forgotten and the forsaken, the violated and those who have no voice, Jesus embraces their cry in his.   

The cry of Jesus from his cross, echoes today in our midst.  It teaches us to be of Christ's same mind, of the same love of Jesus that we might do nothing from selfishness or conceit.  Jesus has left us an example that in humility we might count others better than ourselves.  Jesus teaches us again today not to look to our own interests, but also to the interests of others; to have this mind among ourselves, which was first in Christ Jesus.(Phil. 2:2-5) 

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, it is in this Holiest of Weeks, I ask to be renewed in my first love. May I know again the fervency of a heart that burns again because you are near. Amen. 


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