Christ Died For Us
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Year A (02/04/2023)
(Matthew 21 :1-11; Isaiah 50 :4-7; Psalm 22 :8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Philippians 2: 6-11; Matthew 26 :14—27 :66)
By Fr. Samuel Odeh
“Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory” (Luke 24:26)? It was God’s plan, it was God’s desire and it was God’s will that Jesus should die for us so that our sins can be forgiven. At the Last Supper, when Jesus blessed the chalice, he said, “.. for this is my blood of the covenant, for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26: 27). Like most of us, most of the time, Jesus, as a human being like us, struggled to accept God’s plan for him. In the garden at Gethsemane he prayed three times that God would change his plans for him: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” (Matthew 26 :39). At Gethsemane, in spite of the terrible pain and intense suffering he saw ahead of him, he added to this prayer, “.. nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26: 39). Not what I want Lord, but what you want for me. Even as Jesus died on the cross he felt the human pain of losing his earthly life. While trusting in the Father, he cried out to him in a loud voice, using the words of today’s responsorial psalm, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27 :46)? Today, and throughout Holy Week, we must ask ourselves how we respond to a person who suffered and died for us so that our sins can be forgiven, a person who died so that God can rescue our lives on a supernatural level. Are we sometimes like Judas who betrayed him and came to regret it? Are we sometimes like Peter who denied knowing him? Are we like the disciples who fell asleep at his darkest hour when he needed them so much? The disciples acted violently and senselessly when Jesus was arrested? Are we like Simon of Cyrene who was forced to help him carry his cross? Are we sometimes like the leaders of the people who were afraid of him? Or are we like Pontius Pilate who washed his hands saying the whole affair was none of his business? Jesus died for us so that our sins will be forgiven. What we celebrate during Holy Week is the love that Jesus showed in offering this sacrifice for us. Let us also celebrate the obedience of Jesus that won God’s forgiveness for us.
“And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2 :8)