THE PASSION STORY BEGINS
- Document: Holy Scripture Readings
1.1. First Reading: The Book of the prophet Isaiah 50: 4-7
1.2. Second Reading: Letter of St Paul to the Philippians 2: 6-11
1.3. Gospel Reading: The Passion according to the Gospel of St Mark 14: 1 – 15: 47
1.4. Simple Comment: The prophet Isaiah foretells the passion of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh very close to what we hear from the reading of the Passion of Jesus according to St Mark. St Paul writing to the Philippians reminds them that the fulfillment of the predictions about the Suffering Servant in the person of Jesus is the result of Jesus’ filial decision to remain obedient to the Father – it is an obedience unto death, unto the cross.
- Monument: Mount Sion / Zion
2.1. For King David, Sion was the fortress he conquered, the place to which he brought the Ark of the Covenant containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments received by Moses from Mount Sinai.
2.2. For the people of Israel, Sion later became the Temple built by King Solomon on Mount Moriah, the mountain where Abraham climbed to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Soon the word Sion became a concept that encompassed all of the Land of Israel, the Land they received from God as a promise to Abraham’s obedience to leave Ur and establish the Chosen People of God. More recently for the Jews, Sion (and spelled more with the Z as used for the term Zionism) is the Jews’ focus and longing during the long years of their Diaspora (since the year 70 AD!) and the symbol of their return today.
2.3. For the early Jewish-Christian community, however, after the Temple’s destruction, the hill on the southwestern corner of the city of Jerusalem – where the Last Supper, the resurrection appearances of Jesus and the outpouring of the Spirit took place – became Hagia Sion. It is the cradle of Christianity, the Nea Sion or New Sion.
- Lenten Reflection
3.1. With these scripture readings of Palm Sunday Mass we enter into the very threshold of the Holy Week – the week which commemorates the revelation of how God so loved the world that He gave his only Son for us all.
3.2. God has only one passion. Because He is Father, He is focused at saving every single son and daughter such that He has no other activity that is not in connection with this singular motive. No event is significant to Him unless it is referred to this purpose. Because of this, our appreciation of good or bad, right or wrong, sad or happy, joyful or sorrowful is many times off tangent with that of God. We catch ourselves pursuing unimportant things, we pout and have a bad day for something trifle and petty.
3.3. We need to learn from God’s wisdom. Some people did like Charles de Foucauld, Mother Teresa, Karol Wojtyla, Chiara Lubich, Jean Vanier. Their secret lies in being steeped in the loving knowledge of Jesus Christ – the Father’s Word, the Father’s Heart, the Father’s Love. All this comes to its culmination in the days of the Holy Week.
3.4. Hear Jesus speak during the Last Supper discourse, watch him pray in Gethsemani, look at him at his the trial before Caiaphas and before Pontius Pilate, kneel before him at Calvary, wait for his rising from the dead at the Holy Sepulchre.
- Contemporary Filipino Question: We are a feeling people. We are endowed with a very good perception and sensitivity to the unsaid and the undone. Pakiramdaman natin si Hesus. Lasapin natin ang kanyang sinasabi, pati na ang ayaw niyang sabihin. Pagmasdan natin ang kanyang mga tingin, ulinaggin natin ang kanyang pinakakikinggan. Makiisa tayo sa kanya. Semana santa na. Nais niya tayong makasama, nais niya tayong sumunod sa kaniya.