What’s The Meaning of Our Suffering?

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Sunday, 05 April 2020
Palm Sunday
Isa. 50:4-7; Ps. 22:8-9,17-18a,19-20,23-24; Phi. 2:6-11; Mat. 26:14 – 27:66 (long) or Mat. 27:11-54 (short)

I am always amazed by the “strangeness” of the Liturgy of Palm Sunday. Begun with a festive procession, the Church commemorates Jesus being paraded into Jerusalem. Revered as King of Messiah, Jesus was believed to be instantly upholding the glory of the Kingdom of David, His ancestor. Don’t forget, Jesus was very famous throughout Galilee. He was then heading for the capital city, with thousands of His masses on the Passover pilgrimage. The enthusiasm of the Roman oppressed began to peak. The revolution fire of the nationalist gained a golden opportunity to explode. The pride of his disciples was also spread out! All of this blended and ended in the capital: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, look at your King!”

However, after entering the Church, the atmosphere and tone of the Liturgy totally change! The atmosphere of joy and glory is changed with sorrow ambience, when the “the passion of the Lord” is read. The liturgy does not want us to linger on the euphoria about Christ, the Glorious King. Jesus is not a world-class King: who wants to always win and defeat all the opponents. The reading of the Mass directly presents id with the Servant of Lord (Isa. 50: 4-7). In the dark and suffering condition in the Exile, the Prophet wanted to give a glimmer of hope. His eloquent words certainly comforted the weary, but also created the anger of the elites and rulers. But He did not back off. He only obeyed in listening and proclaiming God’s will. Therefore, He was willing to be beaten, insulted and spat on. But He believed in God’s help. He was sure that He would not be humiliated, because God would justify Him in front of His opponents! The figure of the Servant of Lord helps us in understanding Jesus’ passion. Paul formulated the core and meaning of the story in a famous praise: Christ is willing to “make Himself nothing” and becomes an obedient man to His death. Not died as a hero, but as a Roman criminal, the most despicable death on the cross. However, because of His self-humility, God raises and glorifies Him (Phil 2: 6-11).

Entering the Holy Week, the Church invites us to ponder the basic and always actual question: is there any meaning in human’s suffering? Without faith, the answer is clear: suffering is meaningless! Only through faith in Jesus the King and Servant, then all of our sufferings are meaningful. Isn’t it that He becomes a king by being a servant, from servant to a king? Jesus is confident and believes that the Father will justify His true Servant! What is wronged by human will be justified by God. This is the good news of the Palm Sunday. In this world, there is no guarantee that our lives are trouble-free and no suffering. No guarantee that our goodwill will be respected and not condemned. No guarantee that our sincere love will not be betrayed. No guarantee that all good planning will end perfectly. No guarantee that all our charity work will be free from prejudice and negative thinking. Only one guarantee: Our Father in Heaven remains faithful. He will definitely help and justify you and me. Thus, while waving the palm leaves, we should remember the Servant’s message, that misery and humiliation will not “shake and humiliate me”. Hosanna!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Helping those who are addicted: May our brothers and sisters who are suffering from any addictions be able to get help and assistance. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Creating the culture of reading: May the church be willing to seek for concrete means to train Catholic families in supporting and enhancing the culture of reading literacy. We pray…

Special Intention:
Bless the people in our Diocese: for the women and children to experience and carry out justice in the family of the Church and society. We pray…

Amen

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