This weekend we celebrate Passion Sunday, or Palm Sunday. I have many memories of this day from my childhood. I certainly remember learning to braid the palms with my mom. I remember the unique procession into the church. And I remember the reading of the Passion of our Lord...but not because it was so long, but because it was so different. While it was like the other Gospel readings on a typical Sunday, this one was different because it was read with even more emotion than one would often encounter.
The Passion of our Lord is read in its entirety because this is the central act of love by God for us. It is in the Passion where we see God put into action his great words: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends.”No one has greater love than
this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). When Jesus said these words, he knew that he was going to practice what he was preaching. Though, it would not be laying down his life for only his friends in front of him, but for all humanity, from the beginning of time to his return in glory. And in the Passion, we become witnesses again to the reality
of his love.
In preparation for the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil), I encourage you to read this Gospel again during the week. We read the account from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 22:14—23:56). As you read it, see the love of that Jesus has for you as he is preparing to give his life. See in his face the decision that he is making with you in
mind, out of love. See that he is not doing this for gain or for glory, but only out of a loving action. Pay attention to the feelings that arise in your heart as you “see” just how loved you are by God, that he would do this if you were the only person in the world. This is the full expression of Jesus’ love for you.
As we prepare for the Easter Triduum, certainly learn from mom how to braid your palm, be sure to sing “Hosanna!”, and especially pay attention to just how much God loves you as we read the Passion of Jesus.
Fr. Nels Gjengdahl