Walking in Solidarity with Jesus
On Palm Sunday we begin our intimate Holy Week journey with Jesus. On this occasion I recall a moving experience from the Philippines, where I spent 52 years in mission. It was during the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015. He came to accompany the people who had been so badly devastated by a typhoon. In Tacloban City on January 17, 2015, the Pope said: “If today all of us are gathered here, fourteen months after the passage of Typhoon Yolanda, it is because we are certain that we will not be disappointed in our faith, for Jesus has gone before us. In his passion he took upon himself all of our sorrows.”
Jesus, Our Faithful Brother. Pope Francis continued: “I am here to tell you that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus does not disappoint. ‘Father,’ one of you may tell me, ‘he disappointed me because I lost my house, I lost my family, I lost everything I had, I am sick.’ What you say is true and I respect your feelings, but I see him there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not disappoint us. He was consecrated Lord on that throne, and there he experienced all the disasters we experience. Jesus is Lord! And, he is Lord from the cross, from there he reigned.”
“So many of you lost everything. I do not know what to tell you. But, surely he knows what to tell you! So many of you have lost members of your family. I can only be silent; I accompany you silently, with my heart.” “Many of you looked to Christ and asked: Why, Lord? To each of you the Lord responds from his heart. I have no other words to say to you. Let us look to Christ: he is the Lord, and he understands us, for he experienced all the troubles we experience.”
Faith and Gratitude. Pope Francis also noted that Jesus, through his passion, death and resurrection, accompanies us on our journey. Then, Francis paused to pray with the suffering people: “Thank you, Lord, for being with us here today. Thank you, Lord, for sharing our sorrows. Thank you, Lord, for giving us hope. Thank you, Lord, for your great mercy…. Thank you, Lord, because in the darkest moment of your own life, on the cross, you thought of us and you left us a mother, your mother. Thank you, Lord, for not leaving us orphans. Thank you, Lord, for sharing our lives as our crucified-risen Savior. Thank you, Lord, for giving us Mary, your own mother, to journey with us through suffering and death to the joy of the resurrection.”
James H. Kroeger, M.M.
Prayer for Palm Sunday
With hosannas and praise
may I always welcome you,
Lord Jesus, King of heaven and earth,
into my life and into my world.
You are my Messiah, Savior and Lord,
let your Gospel take root in my heart
that my every thought, word and action
may reflect your grace and truth to all.
As I enter into the mystery of your Passion
and Death on the Cross, may I be
ever mindful of the sufferings of our
sisters and Brothers around the world
for whom each day is a modern
way of the Cross with daily injustice, betrayal,
falling and rising again on the way to you.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
Give me the courage to follow you
the conviction to confess you
and the commitment to remain with you
on your way to the Father.
Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.