Monday, March 30, 2015

Reflections on Holy Week 2015

A time to reflect on our attitude towards others

Last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday which marked the beginning of the Holy Week in our Church calendar. As we step into this auspicious week, it may be the right time for us to reflect on and adopt the virtues that Jesus demonstrated during his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the washing of the feet and the subsequent Passion and death on the cross.

The triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday indicates the willingness of Jesus to stand up for the truth despite knowing well that it is going to cost Him his life. Almost every day we too are faced with situations where we have to stand up in defense of truth. It will be extremely difficult for us do so especially if the person whom we have to stand up against is our superior or those in positions of power and influence. Equally or even more difficult it is if the person whom you love most is doing wrong.

The washing of the feet of his apostles on Holy Thursday was an act of extreme humility that Jesus wants us to emulate in our own lives. “If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet”(John13:14). How willing are we to wash the feet of others, especially those under our care and less fortunate than us?

On Good Friday we commemorate the Passion of Christ that led to his crucifixion. In His Passion and death he demonstrated his forgiveness towards even those who insulted and persecuted him in the cruelest form. Instead of retaliating with anger and vengeance he reacted with love and forgiveness as he hung on the cross dying saying, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing”(Luke 23:34).

Jesus accepted all the persecution and humiliation of his Passion willingly without anger and hatred for those who inflicted pain and insult on him. 

None of us may be able to do what Jesus did but the least we can do is to reflect on ourselves to see how we compare to him. Do we harbor hatred and anger against those who have hurt us? Are we willing to forgive those who have hurt us? Are we willing to go out of the way to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt? 

Today one of the main sickness in society is apathy. We may be too busy with our work and trying make ends meet. We may be too busy to earn to support our family as the cost of living has escalated to levels beyond our reach. In this process we tend to forget those less fortunate than us. We become devoid of feelings for others who may in pain and agony. They may not need money but just our time, our smile and some comforting words which we find hard to give.

Then there are those who are treated unjustly in our midst, our colleagues and subordinates. They are overworked, underpaid and rights denied and even abused. We may be in a position to do or at least say something in their support but we are too afraid and remain silent.

The Holy Week is a time to reflect on our attitude towards others. It is a time to think of others who are less fortunate than us, to feel for them and do something within our means to support them in whatever way we can.

The Holy Week culminates in the resurrection of Jesus that symbolizes his victory over death and sin, His resurrection gives us hope that if we continue to do his will and suffer as a result we too will one day come out victorious over our own sins and death.

Have a Holy and Blessed Holy Week

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Palm Sunday 2015 - A reflection

Courage to stand up for truth and right

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, which marks the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem days before his death on the cross. Traditionally Catholics celebrate this occasion by waving blessed palms as the celebrant leads the procession into the church for the special mass where the passion of Jesus is read. While this tradition of blessing of palms, procession and reading of the passion are firmly entrenched, the real meaning of Palm Sunday seemed to fading today.
Is Palm Sunday all about blessing and waving of palms? Is it all about going in procession and reading the passion of Jesus? It might have been so when we were children but should not be anymore as adults and having gone through our own “Passions” in life.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem with great courage knowing well he will be brutally crucified like a hard core criminal watched by the people of Jerusalem who used to call him Lord and master.
Jesus knew very well that his own people who welcomed him like a king coming to save them from the mighty Romans, will turn against him five days later when they realise he will not fight the Romans in the way they expected, with power and might. They will betray him and shout, “We do not know him” and “crucify him”.
Jesus knew very well the pain, agony and humiliation that he will have to endure in the next few days. All these were not for any crime he had committed but for speaking the truth, the truth that hurt many.
In short Palm Sunday is more about humility and courage to stand up for truth and right against all the forces of evil arrayed against us. Today each one of us may in similar situations of some sort. We see evil all around us where truth is blatantly suppressed and the righteous punished, persecuted, tortured and even killed.
Do we have the courage to stand up for truth and right even under these threatening and fearful circumstances? Even when friends, relatives and our own children turn against us for standing steadfast to our convictions of truth and right will we have the courage to go on with our struggle? This is the question we must pose ourselves this Palm Sunday.
Jesus chose to come in his own way to save us by humility,love, mercy and forgiveness.He did not come in the way we want, power and might.It is we who must follow him not he follow us.