No Greater Love

Palm Sunday finds the crowd [us] waving palms and shouting triumphal Hosannas! to the Son of David at the start of the Mass, till we get to the Gospel, and join the crowd shouting, Crucify him! Once more we enter within ourselves as Jesus passes by, wanting to enter into our hearts and our lives. As man, the Son of God has already taken on himself our human nature in all its hurts, pains and conflicts. Jesus awaits our individual response from our innermost self or conscience. Thus Holy Week is also called “conscience week.”

Holy Week will refresh us with the drama of people involved, and how they had responded to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. There is Mary of Bethany who sat at and anointed Jesus’ feet with the fragrance of holiness; Peter who denies Jesus then repents; Judas who betrays his Master and loses all hope; Pilate who cowardly washes his hands of judgment; John the Beloved to whom Jesus entrusts His mother at the Cross; the Pharisees and chief priests; and many others. Most of all, we confront Jesus Himself seated at table with His disciples at the Last Supper, at the Cross till His death and resurrection. To them He gave His loving self, as He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist. Can we also give Him our inner selves, and also “lay down our life [personal interests]” for Him?

Jesus laid down His life for us sinners whom we loves, in obedience to the will of the Father who sent Him to redeem humankind. Jesus at all times followed the way of love and service in order to redeem His brothers and sisters. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for the redemption of many” (Mt 20:28). Jesus’ love never ends, even after we sin, for which He forgives us. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34). “There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends: and you are my friends if you do what I command you”(Jn 15:13-14). Despite the condemnation by the religious courts, a pagan reveals the identity of Jesus at the Cross: “In truth this man was son of God!” (Mt 27:54). Let us seek this Son of God, our Brother in our hearts filled with love, and among the poor, rejected, abused human beings. Mary, with you, I will courageously witness to Jesus’ all-embracing love and lay down my selfish ways for Him.

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