LUKE 22: 14 to 23: 56Â Â orÂ Â LUKE 23: 1-49
HIS WORDâ€¦FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DOâ€¦ AMEN, I SAY TO YOU, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISEâ€¦ FATHER INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRITâ€¦
my wordsâ€¦Todayâ€™s celebration is liturgically called â€œPALM SUNDAY OF THE LORDâ€™S PASSIONâ€ because of the blessing of palms (palaspas or lukay) or coconut fronds that â€œinculturatesâ€ the celebration and the colorful procession to the Church which is reminiscent of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus to the Holy City of Jerusalem where He was royally welcomed as â€œKingâ€. Why PALMS and BRANCHES on the Triumphant Entry of Jesus to Jerusalem and Why Palm Sunday? In ancient Mediterranean culture, palms and branches were used to welcome a royal visitor. Therefore, when Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem, He was accorded with a â€œroyal welcomeâ€ as the King of Israel, â€œHosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israelâ€ (John 12:12-15). But the tragedy was; the people who royally welcomed Him, the same people also who five days after shouted, â€œCrucify Him!â€ Thus, â€œPassion Sundayâ€ for Jesus for these people turned about from Him and even condemned Him. In todayâ€™s passion gospel, St. Luke presents the passion narrative mirroring his special interest on the poor, the women, the Gentiles, and the great mercy of Jesus. In the Lucan passion story, Jesus is shown as the Lord of Mercy and as the Wounded Healer of the destitute people (Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP, Sambuhay Reflection on the Wounded Healer in the Jubilee Year of Mercy).
Brothers and Sisters, this year Pope Francis mandated the Church to celebrate this â€œExtraordinary Jubilee of Mercyâ€. And this is reflective in the Lucan gospel where Jesus does not draw attention to His suffering but to the suffering of others to whom He brings healing. As for instance, He weeps â€“ not for Himself, but for Jerusalem who does not know the day of her visitation nor what makes for peace; in Gethsemane, He heals the severed ear of the high priestâ€™s servant; when Peter denies Him, Jesus looks at him for which Peter weeps bitterly; on the way to Calvary, Jesus tells the women of Jerusalem not to weep for Him but for themselves and for their children; and while hanging on the cross, Jesus prays to the Father to forgive those who are responsible for His crucifixion, and He promises paradise to the repentant thiefâ€¦ Indeed, the face of the Crucified One is the face of Mercy (Fr. G.A. Alinsangan, SSP).
Brethren, for this Holy Week celebration, Pope Francis invites us to fix our eyes on Jesus and His merciful gaze. The Pope reminds us that the mission Jesus received from the Father was that of revealing the mystery of divine love in its fullness. The signs that Jesus works for sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering are all meant to teach MERCY. Everything in Jesus speaks of mercy. Nothing in Jesus is devoid of COMPASSION. Thus, the Pope exhorts that â€œmercyâ€ should be the foundation of the Churchâ€™s life and mission.
LET US THEREFORE BE MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE AS JESUS DID TO USâ€¦ (By Fr. Julius C. Lupot)