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Rough Cuts: Can we suffer indignities?

Today is Sunday, the 14th of April, 2019. It is the occasion for the commemoration of the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s passion.

This Sunday’s Psalm is, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Today’s 1st Reading is from Isaiah 50:4-7. It says:

The Lord Yahweh has taught me so I speak as his disciple and I know how to sustain the weary.

Morning after morning he wakes me up to hear, to listen like a disciple.

The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn.

I offered my back to those who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I shield my face from blows, spittle and disgrace.

I have not despaired, for the Lord Yahweh has come to my help. So, like a flint I set my face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

The 2nd Reading of the day is from the Philippians 2:6-11.

Thought he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and, in his appearance, found, as a man, He humbled himself by being obedient, to death, death on the cross.

That is why God exalted him and gave him the name which outshines all names, so, that, at the name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim, that Christ Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Meanwhile, this Sunday’s Gospel is from Luke 22L:14-23:56*

(…) Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this man.” (…) When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time.

Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see him because of the reports about him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus. All the while the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on him, he sent him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders before all the people, and said to them, “You have brought this man before me and accused him of subversion. In your presence I have examined him and found no basis for your charges. And neither has Herod, for he sent him back to me. It is quite clear that this man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have him scourged and then release him.” (…)

Howling as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this man! Release Barabas instead.” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder. Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have him scourged and let him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he delivered Jesus in accordance with their wishes.

READ: In the Gospel Jesus received a warm welcome as he enters Jerusalem. Paul reflects on the meaning of Jesus’ passion and death, his self-emptying. Against the background of Isaiah, Jesus proves to be that suffering servant who does not fight back.

REFLECT: Do you have the ability to suffer indignities without losing your self-confidence and composure? Try absorbing the blows without complaints. You may learn wisdom. Many of us today do not see the significance of sufferings. We all want things to be easy. We prefer convenience. Those who embrace sufferings have stronger resiliency. They are more wise. They can take suffering as part of life, as a way to true success.

Christians consider voluntary sufferings for the atonement of their sins. They do this in response to God’s call for conversion.

NB: Our thanks to the Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., publisher of the book Bible Diary 2019 from where we source the Word of God that we are sharing to our fellow faithful every Sunday.

 

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