March 25 — Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
IS 50: 4-7; PS 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24; PHIL 2: 6-11, MK 14: 1 – 15: 47
In his letter to the Philippians, our Second Reading on this Palm Sunday, St. Paul writes, “…he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Everything we hear today and during Holy Week relates to this statement.
For some 2,000 years scholars and theologians have debated what the phrase “emptied himself” means. As is sometimes the case, in the midst of these debates and discussions they lose focus of what is really Paul’s point and teaching perhaps. One of the things Paul might be trying to get us to think about is emptying ourselves to a certain extent. If you have ever been a retreat or been part of a spiritual exercise, you may be encouraged to “empty yourself” so you are prepared to in reality add something.
Jesus gave much up to be the Son of Man. At this point in our Lenten journey, we need to grasp that He gave up His life so that we might have life. That is what should be on our minds as we hear the Passion today and as we continue and complete our own preparation for Christ’s resurrection on Easter.
Have you ever heard someone say about someone else “He (or she) is so full of himself (or herself)?” Jesus was not “full of Himself.” He emptied Himself, and that is something we, too, must strive to do to be His disciple.