Reading I: Isaiah 50:4-7
Reading II: Philippians 2:6-11
GOSPEL: Matthew 14-27:66 or 27:11-54

This Sunday is called Palm Sunday, but is sometimes referred to as Passion Sunday. The word “passion,” thanks to television and music, conjures up images of many things – but rarely anything to do with faith or religion. The gospel today, however, gives us a different image of what “passion” means.

In this lengthy gospel, we hear the story of our salvation. We are told how Judas approached the chief priests and plotted to turn Jesus over to them. Then the story continues up and through Jesus dying on the cross, concluding with the reactions that followed.

Do we reject what we know is truth?

Judas turns on Jesus. But later, during a very difficult situation, so does Peter. In fact, Jesus is denied three times by Peter. In very different ways, both of these men turn away from Jesus. Both feel the guilt and shame of rejecting their friend – the man whom they know is the Messiah.

Perhaps, like Judas and Peter, we deny or reject our faith in Jesus when being Christian is difficult – or sometimes just when it becomes inconvenient.

Jesus is passionate about his mission, his love for God, and his love for humanity. He endures suffering and death because of this passion. It is an important lesson for us to learn: we must be prepared to give everything for what is most important to us. The things that truly count should be entered into with great passion.

We should be people of PASSION!

There was an intense reaction when Jesus died. The temple reacted to the death of Jesus when the veil tore from top to bottom. The earth reacted with the shuddering of an earthquake. The bodies of many saints who had died arose from the opened tombs. We also hear many of the reactions that people demonstrate, including people like the guards and Pontius Pilate.

According to theologian Richard McBrien, there is an old Latin phrase – Res clamat domino – which means “a thing clamors for its owner.” This phrase describes the notion of an internal alarm system in the world. Think of the above reactions – whether the Church, the earth, the tomb or the people of the world – there was a clamor!

Jesus is the owner of the temple, the earth, and the people who witnessed and responded to what happened on that Friday so long ago. It was fitting that they should all react to his death. But most importantly, the death of Jesus received a reaction from the graves. Through his own passing, Jesus took ownership over death and the grave.

Think about the implications of Jesus taking ownership over death. This will be more fully explored next week, when we will hear the Easter story at Mass. But in the meantime, this week prepares us by showing how Jesus died on the cross. He showed us how to confront death by trusting in God. Death is no longer in control.

Is there a clamor within you?

In the Gospel story, the reactions to the death of Christ are obvious. But today, when we hear the story of the passion of Jesus, do we clamor? Do we react?

As we listen to the suffering and death of our savior, can we feel the power of what Jesus has done for us? Is there passion in our hearts? How much of a clamor takes place in our hearts? Through the way we live, do we show that Jesus is the owner of our lives?

Even though the story is 2000 years old, many facets are very real today. This story continues to happen. People still reject Jesus, people and things still clamor for their owner, and Jesus still controls death. During this Holy Week, let us live fully in the present, while we remember all that happened during the last week Jesus walked on earth.

Life Applications:

Are there times when you turn away from what is true?
How do you react when you hear the gospel?
What are some ways you need to clamor for Jesus?
What are your thoughts and feelings on death?

Original article by Jim Corder, 2002 – 2020.
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