Reflections on Palm Sunday

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


THIS Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week. Called the Palm Sunday we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem where he is met by the people with praises and exaltation. Waving palms and singing Hosanna, they welcomed with great joy the man who in a few days’ time many will indict before Pontius Pilate, together with the shameless demand, “Crucify him; crucify him.”

But even before we condemn these people for their actions, we better ask ourselves, “Are we not, in many ways, behaving like them? Are we not, in one instance, ablaze with our love for God, only to fail him days, or even moments, later?”

Spiritual hypocrisy or pure human weakness ? it may be due to one or the other, but the fact is that all of us, with no exception, have betrayed God at certain points in our lives because of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

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Jesus knew that his own friends will abandon him on his darkest hour. In Matthew 26 we hear him say, “This very night, you will fall away on account of me.” What was Peter’s reply? “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” He declared further, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Then we take note: all the other disciples said the same thing.

Yet we all know what happened next. When Jesus was arrested, all of his disciples deserted him and fled. And while being tried by the Sanhedrin, before the cock crowed, Peter has denied the Lord three times.

Very sad, but the good news is that the story did not end there. At the cross, Jesus uttered, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). He asked for the forgiveness of sins, not only of his apostles, but more so, of the very people who pleaded for his death and of those who nailed him on the cross. Even today, Jesus our High Priest who is seated at the right hand of God in heaven, petitions the Father to forgive the sins of every repentant sinner ? all on account of him.

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his apostles and disciples. He did not confront them for abandoning him, but he taught them and strengthened them. After asking several times if Peter really loved him, he reinstated this apostle and instructed him to feed his lambs and sheep. And on the day of the Pentecost he gave them all his Spirit, empowering them to preach the gospel “unto the ends of the earth.”

Yes, many times we may have fallen, but our God is a God of mercy and love. He will not always be angry as to condemn us for our wrongs. His heart’s desire is always to forgive us whenever we sincerely ask for forgiveness, reinstate us to a state of grace, and pour out on us his goodness and blessings as a loving Father.

Jesus took all the punishment due us for our sins. He offered his life, that you and I may be saved. Are you willing to accept his free gift of salvation? Ask for forgiveness. Believe in Jesus and follow him.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 10, 2014.

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