A Reflection for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
By Sr. Marilyn Dunphy, MHSH
This Sunday is often referred to as Palm Sunday, but more completely it is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. The triumphant procession and entry into Jerusalem give way to the betrayal, arrest, torture, and death of Jesus. His Passion is in full view in these accounts.
When we ponder the Passion of Jesus during this Holy Week, can we imagine him fully experiencing the physical pain, emotional distress, isolation, and abandonment that are described in the Scripture readings? Or do we assume that Jesus’ divinity somehow shielded him from these experiences?
In “The Ignatian Adventure”, his guide to the Spiritual Exercises, Kevin O’Brien SJ says that “in order to know Jesus, we must take his humanity seriously. We must not forget that while he is fully divine, he is also fully human. To gloss over Jesus’ humanity is to miss one of the central meanings of the Incarnation: Jesus shows us that the way to our divinity (or holiness) is through our humanity, not around it. In other words, Jesus teaches us how to be fully human”.
Our world has undergone its own passion during this last year, as Covid 19 has wrought illness, death, isolation, depression, and financial ruin. Each of us can tell stories of our personal passion and/or the passion of family and friends. It is raw, and it is real. The Jesus who suffered so horribly himself, and loved us to the end, understands and is present to us with consoling love.
During this Holy Week, let us also bring into our prayer the suffering of others in our world who endure poverty, displacement, discrimination, oppression, marginalization, and other burdens. To truly stand in solidarity with them in their plight is to stand with the suffering Jesus.