‘Into your hands, I commit my spirit.’
This Sunday, we begin the holiest week of the Church’s liturgical year. We read two passages from the Gospels relating how the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, accompanied by crowds who acclaim him as Savior and King, gave way to his betrayal and death, alone and abandoned by all. The other readings help us understand the meaning of these events of the Passion.
The first reading is one of the passages about the suffering servant of God from the book of Isaiah. The words proclaimed by the prophet get fulfilled in the life and events of Jesus. Isaiah prophesied the dramatic events happening in the passion narrative with the words, “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” As Christians, we read this as showing how Jesus lived out his patient trust in God. It can help and enable us to bear our trials and difficulties.
The Psalm is the cry of the crushed soul that acknowledges God as the only hope and strength. Its words of hope amid great suffering, and profound trust in God, are the prayer of Jesus from the cross. The death of Jesus brought us God’s mercy and reconciliation, making us humble and firmly grounded in faith, hope, and trust.
St Paul’s text is a hymn to Jesus’s life and death. Christ’s humility in becoming a human being was even more profound when he accepted to die a shameful death on a cross. But, as Paul writes, God raised him from death and gave him the highest name of all so that all beings should bend the knee to Jesus and ‘acclaim, Jesus Christ, as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’
This week, let us accompany Jesus, and as we do so, we pray for the grace to become aware of our sinfulness. Let us experience sorrow and true contrition in the face of the sufferings of Jesus.
Joy and Peace.