April 2, 2023 — Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
IS 50:4-7; PS 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; PHIL 2:6-11; MT 26:14-27:66 OR MT 27:11-54
We begin this Holy Week with the reading of the Lord’s Passion from the Gospel of Matthew. It is fitting that we Christian stewards focus our minds and hearts intensely this week on the steps of our Brother and Savior as He laid down His very life for us.
Before we do so, let us first take a moment to examine the seemingly small acts of stewardship by some who encountered Jesus during this most eventful week.
One occurred when Jesus gave instructions to the disciples about the room where they would celebrate the Passover. Jesus said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “the teacher says… “In your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” We do not know this man’s name but we do know that he agreed to this request — he shared the material gift of his home and the gift of hospitality so that Jesus had a place to celebrate the Passover. Little did he know that because of his good stewardship, his own home would be the site of the institution of the Eucharist!
There was also Simon the Cyrenian who offered the gift of his physical strength, helping the Lord to carry His Cross. Privilege of privileges!
Consider, too, the actions of Joseph of Arimathea — he generously shared a material gift of the tomb that was his, and he gave the gift of service to our Lord by giving Him a proper burial.
Then there were the “two Marys” who gave Jesus the gift of their time. Keeping watch in a tender vigil after His death, they “remained sitting there, facing the tomb.”
Each of these were simple acts of good stewardship, yet God used them in mighty ways. God invites each of us, too, to cooperate with Him in small ways through the sharing of our time, talents and material gifts. Small gifts can become mighty deeds when placed in God’s service.
And there is no greater motivation to embrace this stewardship way of life than to turn our attention in the week ahead to the details of the Passion that our Lord undertook for love of us. Consider just a few right now, but spend some time this week on your own or with your family, pondering what Jesus has done for each one of us personally:
“Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and… said, “Take and eat; this is my body” — for you!
“Then he took a cup, gave thanks…saying ‘Drink from it… for this is my blood of the covenant which will be shed on behalf of many’” — and for you!
He agonized in the garden over the sins of all mankind, taking them on Himself — for you.
“They spat in His face and struck Him, while some slapped Him” — He allowed it for you.
His dear friend Peter, denied, Him: “I do not know the man” — and Jesus endured this for you.
They bound Him, led Him away — for you.
He stood before the crowd, His own people, as they shouted, “Crucify Him!” — for you.
They mocked Him, stripped Him, whipped Him, nailed His hands and feet to the Cross — for you.
Finally, when there was literally nothing left to give, “He gave up His spirit” — for you.
Are we not compelled, as Christian stewards, to live now for Him, to give ourselves generously, in big ways and small — to Him Who has given us all that we have and are, Who has given His very Self?