March 25, 2018 Palm Sunday of the Lordʼs Passion – “Acceptance of the Passion”

There is a sharp contrast between Jesusʼ and Peterʼs acceptance of Christʼs passion. Both are afraid, but while Jesus faces and embraces, Peter hides and denies.

We understand Peterʼs gloomy darkness, and identify with the confusion and weakness leading to his failure. Like us, he tries to follow Jesus, but at a safe distance. He wants to be close, but not too close. He wants to feel he hasnʼt abandoned him, to be there— but remains on the fringe.

But following Jesus always leads to moments of truth. Jesus and life have a way of bringing us full circle to face our true selves. Are we in or out? How deep is our love? This time, Peterʼs love for Jesus fails. But like us, Jesus looks at him with understanding and gives him a chance to be honest, repent, and follow him once again.

Jesusʼ acceptance of his passion is our example. First, he suffers freely. Heʼs not being forced into a fate he cannot escape. As a result, he is calm, self-possessed, in control of his heart, and patient. Second, he suffers peacefully without resentment. He isnʼt constantly recriminating against Judas, Peter, or John during his trial or flagellation. He doesnʼt seek blame or payback.

Not only is he not bitter or resentful, but he is full of compassion and focused on others: on the elderly women, his Mother, John the Apostle, forgiving his tormentors, and leading the good thief to heaven. Letʼs enter this holiest week following our Redeemer and imitating his example.

—Fr. Mark Haydu, LC

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