Saturday, February 23, 2008

Palm Sunday - more than just blessing and waving palms

Its gaining courage to uphold the truth

We are in the season of Lent and soon we will observe the Holy Week when we would relive the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday which commemorates the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

When we were children Palm Sunday was a day of joy and celebration as we witnessed the blessing of palm and the procession that followed. We were happy to wave the palms and many of us took them back to place in our homes and even cars. Is Palm Sunday all about blessing and waving of palms?

Today we are older and after going through the various experiences in life we tend to see Palm Sunday differently. Jesus entered Jerusalem to face his imminent torture and death on the cross which he was well aware of. He took it willingly and placed full trust in God. Jesus was willing to walk the path of truth knowing very well that it is going to cause him immense suffering and death on the cross.

Very few people have withstood bravely to defend their principles in life. The notable person in modern times who did that was Mahatma Gandhi. With full convictions in what he was doing was right and full in God, he refused to submit to the hegemony of the colonialist. He single handedly defeated the British Empire not by hate and violence but by his love and integrity. He practiced to the fullest every word he preached.

We too are very often asked to bear witness to truth in our daily lives. Are we willing to walk the path of righteousness in an environment of hostility and ridicule? Are we willing bold enough stand firm to our principles in facing up to the challenges in life? Many of us may think we would but only to succumb to the temptations of greed, lust and hatred.

The main reason we succumb to temptations is our lack of faith and trust in God. Real faith is tested not during good times but at times of great trouble and difficulty. It is easy to say we trust God when we have everything going our way but it is more important to hold on to that unwavering trust when we are encountered with failure after failure.

We are all well aware that even many hardcore Catholics, laity and clergy alike, have given up their faith in deep frustration as they feel God did not answer their prayers. They feel despite being steadfast in their faith, God did not come to their aid when they badly needed Him. They fail to realize that God answers our prayers in ways we dot not recognize or comprehend. Whatever He gives is what we deserve and is the best in the circumstances we are in.

Palm Sunday is not just about blessing and waving of palms and shouting “Hosanna, Hosanna” but it is a solemn lesson for us all. Like Jesus who rode into Jerusalem bravely to face His imminent torture and death in the defense of truth, let us also try our best to emulate Him bravely, to uphold the truth, in our journey in this world particularly in times of hardship and pain.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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