Friday, March 27, 2015

Palm Sunday

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 29, 2015

Mark 14:1-15:47

Jesus expected the possibility of a violent end. He wasn't naive. He knew what he was exposing himself to if he continued to emphasize the plan of the kingdom of God. It was impossible to so radically seek a decent life for the "poor" and "sinners" without provoking the reaction of those who weren't interested in any change.

Certainly Jesus isn't suicidal. He isn't looking for crucifixion. He never wanted suffering either for others or for himself. He had devoted his whole life to fighting it wherever he found it -- in sickness, in injustice, in sin, or in despair. So he's not running after death, but neither does he back away.

He will go on welcoming sinners and the excluded even though his actions are irritating in the temple. If they end up condemning him, he will also die as a criminal and excluded one, but his death will confirm what has been his entire life -- total trust in a God who excludes nobody from His forgiveness.

He will go on proclaiming God's love to the last and the least, identifying with the poorest and most despised by the empire, however annoying it might be in the circles close to the Roman governor. If some day he is executed through the torment of the cross, reserved for slaves, he too will die as a negligible slave, but his death will seal forever his fidelity to God, the defender of victims.

Full of God's love, he will continue to offer "salvation" to those who suffer from sickness and evil, he will "welcome" those who are excluded by society and religion, he will give free "forgiveness" to sinners and those who are lost and unable to return his friendship. This salvific action that inspired his whole life will also inspire his death.

That's why the cross attracts us Christians so much. We kiss the face of the Crucified One, we lift our eyes to him, we listen to his last words...because in his crucifixion we see Jesus' last service to the Father's plan, and the supreme gesture of God, surrendering His Son out of love for all humanity.

It is unworthy to convert Holy Week into folklore or a tourist attraction. For Jesus' followers, celebrating the passion and death of the Lord is thrilled gratitude, joyful adoration of God's "incredible" love and a call to live as Jesus did in solidarity with the crucified.

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