Reflections - Mar. 29, 2015

“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.  And…..he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth…..Phil. 2: 6-10.
 
Today Palm Sunday begins the solemnity of Holy Week.  The Church presents us with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the blessing of the palms and then later the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark is read.
 
In this Holy Week people will be divided into two groups.   The first group is those who live in darkness and destroy life and the second group is those who love and seek to live in the light repenting of their sins and with the palms proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord “to the glory of God the Father”.  Phil. 2:11.
 
On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist.  The Sacrament in which Jesus gives us His body, blood, soul and divinity and offers himself to the Father actualizing the sacrifice at Calvary.  It is the night of the institution of the priesthood:  “Do this in memory of me”, to make Christ present learning of His love and surrender.
 
On Good Friday we will find on Calvary those who mock and curse Him and we also find those who pray primarily his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, praying for all of us.  There also we will find St. John and the good thief.
 
We do not know the name of the good thief.  At the end of his life Christ had to meet three robbers:  Barabbas who was given his freedom in place of Christ and then on the cross he met two human beings with terrible records of killing and robbing.  One cursed while the other one said:  “You and I are here because we have sinned, but He has done nothing wrong.  Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.  Perhaps this man heard Christ say:  “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” and these words touched his heart.  Some say that he stole heaven from Christ, but no, paradise was made for that man who made an act of repentance and faith at the time of the abomination, of the temporary defeat where Christ’s divinity was hidden and even the apostles went into hiding.  This man recognizes that his punishment is deserved and forces the other thief to be quiet.  He recognizes Jesus as King and calls him Lord and declares that he believes in a realm that transcends this world.  In Jesus’ humiliation, he found salvation.
 
Oh Lord, your dead body now rests in the arms of your mother.  Everything is finished.  Through your passion and death you have renewed everything.  Allow me, Lord, to proclaim, with all the Church in the Easter Vigil when your light triumphs over death and sin:  You are Lord for the glory of God the Father.  Amen.