Reflection: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Readings of the Day

One technique of the practice of Lectio Divina is to reflect upon the Word of God from the perspective of the participants of the story: the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter in the courtyard of the High Priest, Mary at the foot of the cross.

For me, on the day commemorating the beginning of the most impactful week of Jesus’s life, a previously unridden colt takes center stage. Why? Because “the Master has need of it.”

What would it be like for you to hear the words, “the Master has need of you”? Have you already heard them? If so, who spoke them to you? A friend, a pastor, a person in need, a job notice, a supervisor, a voice in your heart during prayer?
Today’s other readings reveal a bit more about what it means to be “needed” by the Master:

• Becoming a “suffering servant” who does not shield his face from buffets and spitting;

• Identifying with the one who cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

• Practicing obedience to the point of death on the cross.

In the spring of 2006, the senior management of Catholic Charities USA joined its Board of Directors to visit New Orleans, view the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and support the staff who were working on the recovery, even though they themselves had been severely impacted. At one point we met with Archbishop Hughes on the local seminary grounds. There was a statue of Jesus in the garden there that had been toppled by the flood, leaving it without its hands. During the clean-up, the statue was remounted in its brokenness. The Archbishop used it to remind us that the work of caring for those who had lost everything now belonged to us, because Jesus has no hands but ours.

Will you answer the call despite the cost?

Jean Beil, who retired in 2020 from a Catholic Charities career of over 30 years, now serves as the regional coordinator for Caritas Internationalis.