Palm Sunday and the Lord’s Passion Sunday

March 27, 2021

Phil 2:6-11 and Mk 14:1-15:47

 

A few months ago I was reading implausible proposals on how to face the effects of the climate crisis, in particular, I stopped at the proposal of some economists who affirmed that the end of bees is a good thing because it will force us to mechanical pollination by an army of pollinating robots, something that is already happening in China but with human labor, that of the poor. Another proposal found was to manufacture an alga capable of absorbing CO2 (G. Giraud). The hidden agenda of these proposals, as we well know, is not the preservation of life but the bet on technoscience allied to an economy based on unlimited production and consumption (cf. LS 34). Playing God, with this pretension of substituting an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with another created by us (cf. LS 34) is a perverse way of wanting to supplant God with harmful consequences for all forms of life that share this planet.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we will discover two contrasting elements: Jesus is acclaimed at his entry into Jerusalem, and at the same time he lives the drama of the Passion. John tells us that the sign of entering the city mounted on a donkey was not understood by his disciples, because “he does not arrive in a sumptuous royal chariot, nor on horseback, like the great ones of the world, but on a borrowed donkey” (Benedict XVI). The disciples will understand this messianic sign only under the light of the crucifixion (Jn 12:12-16). We, also like the disciples, can remain in this bipolar kind of believing: acclaiming Jesus in his greatness, but not assuming the meaning of this exaltation in our following. The first reading (Phil 2:5-11) gives us clues to deepen this. Paul invites us to have the same sentiments as Christ Jesus, “who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross (cf. Phil 2:6-8). According to R. Guridi, Jesus does not surrender his equality with God, but he does not use it for his own benefit or to obtain advantages. Jesus shows by his life that divine equality means, in the last analysis, self-giving, and self-surrender. In contrast to Jesus’ choice, in Genesis, we find the temptation to supplant God, which destroys the harmony between the Creator, humanity, and all creation (cf. LS 66). Jesus’ self-emptying renews and gives fullness to all creation because God recognizes his self-giving and exalts him by making him Lord of all creation (cf. Phil 2:9-11).

The message of this Sunday’s EcoGospel invites us to look at Jesus in his self-emptying and self-giving to the extent of death on the cross, and from there to situate ourselves in our role and place in the world. We have been called to be stewards of the common home, but this does not mean supplanting the Creator. To intervene indiscriminately in the created world is a temptation to “want to be like God”. Laudato Si’ will tell us: “We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us.” (LS 67). Altering the existing harmony in our world will take a heavy toll that we may never be able to pay. While we must assume our role as stewards of the common home, we cannot take advantage of it and destroy what has been given to us. With our intelligence, wisdom, and heart we must give ourselves and serve the flourishing of all forms of life. This requires inner freedom, otherwise, it is difficult to overcome the voracity that ruins the world. God gives us inner freedom. If we allow Him to dwell in us, we will be able to go beyond mere “administration”; we will contemplate our world with a grateful attitude and praise our Creator who lives among us and in what surrounds us (cf. LS 225).

Author: Gladys De la Cruz Castañón HCJC
Catechist Sister of Jesus Crucified. 
She has a degree in Catechetics and is a candidate for a Doctorate in Catechetics at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.
She is a member of the Diocesan Delegation of Catechesis in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Volunteer for the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

Author: Gladys De la Cruz Castañón HCJC
Catechist Sister of Jesus Crucified.
She has a degree in Catechetics and is a candidate for a Doctorate in Catechetics at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.
She is a member of the Diocesan Delegation of Catechesis in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Volunteer for the Global Catholic Climate Movement.