THEME: NO CROSS, NO CROWN
READINGS: Before Procession: Matthew 21:1-11/
Mass: Isaiah 50:4-7/ Phil. 2: 6-11/ Matthew 26:14-27:66
The Palm Sunday celebration is a commemoration of both the joyful triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (cf. Matt. 21:1-11) and His sorrowful passion (cf. Matt. 26:36-27:66). This mixture of joyful and sorrowful mysteries of Jesus should remind us that His cross was followed by His crowning (cf. Phil. 2:6-11), His suffering leads to our salvation, His passion opens Paradise for us, His pain brings us eternal peace, and His hardship offers us eternal happiness, etc.
NO CROSS, NO CROWN (NCNC)
Whereas in the Lord’s triumphant entry, He was greeted with cheers of “Hosanna … hosanna”, in His passion, He received jeers of “crucify Him …crucify Him”. His crucifixion, however, was not the end of His story; for He arose on the third day. Thus, the humiliating and excruciating death of Jesus on the cross was crowned with His glorious resurrection. Simply put, “no cross, no crown” (NCNC). Let us, therefore, learn to take our cross daily and follow Jesus (cf. Luke 9:23), and He will eventually crown us with heavenly glory.
NO SUFFERING, NO SALVATION (NSNS)
Our Lord had to suffer for our salvation. In other words, “no suffering, no salvation” (NSNS). Our Lord’s suffering, however, does not mean the end of our own experiences of temporal suffering. It may be worthwhile to explain why we also have to suffer despite the saving suffering of Jesus. Let us illustrate this with the process of an organ transplant. The donor will have to endure the pain of surgery in order to donate his/her organ to save another person. However, the latter would not be saved if he/she does not want to undergo the suffering of the surgery required for the organ transplant. Similarly, by dying on the cross, Jesus has suffered to offer us His “organ”, but we also have to endure the pain of surgery to receive the “organ” of salvation. Let us, therefore, endure our sufferings in view of our salvation (cf. Col. 1:24).
NO STRUGGLE, NO SUCCESS (NSNS)
A practical lesson of “no suffering, no salvation” (NSNS) is “no struggle, no success” (NSNS). For instance, a student has to struggle with his/her studies in order to pass his/her examinations. Similarly, a business may flourish after years of struggles.
NO PASSION, NO PARADISE (NPNP)
Through the passion of Jesus, He opened Paradise not only to the repentant thief but to all humankind. In short, then “no passion, no Paradise” (NPNP).
NO PAIN, NO PEACE (NPNP)
The pains of Jesus bring us eternal peace in heaven. Simply, put: “no pain, no peace” (NPNP). This should be our mantra especially as we go through some pains in life, e.g., loss of a job, a loss in business, no prospects of marriage, a marriage with no children, sickness, the death of a dear one, etc. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, may grant us some great moments of peace even in this life if we faithfully endure our pains.
NO HARDSHIP, NO HAPPINESS (NHNH)
The hardships Jesus endured offer us eternal happiness in heaven. In short, “no hardship, no happiness’ (NHNH). In practical terms, the hardships of life may prepare us for happiness in the latter part of our lives. For instance, the hardships a married couple may endure in their early years together may lead to happiness in the latter part of their lives.
NO DIFFICULTY, NO DISCOVERY (NDND)
The Palm Sunday celebration also reminds us that many discoveries were engendered by difficulties. Simply put: “no difficulty, no discovery” (NDND). Therefore, anytime we are faced with a difficulty, let us try to see it as an opportunity to discover something new.
Beloved, with the grace of God, may the cross of Jesus lead to our heavenly crown, His suffering to our salvation, His passion to our life in Paradise, our struggle to our success, our pain to our peace, our hardship to our happiness, and our difficulty to a new discovery. Amen!
By Msgr. John Kobina Louis