Palm Sunday

Author: Br. Richard Critz, C.S.C.

Holy Week

[Jesus] threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”
—Matthew 26:39
Accepting the Father’s will, Jesus became obedient to death. Throwing himself to the ground was a prayer in action, placing himself before God and expressing his complete abandonment to the Father. Jesus’ surrender on the Cross was the ultimate sacrifice; he entrusted his spirit completely to God. But it was not just an isolated moment; it flowed from a continuous, practiced disposition of dying to himself and living for God.
As we begin Holy Week, we recall that for us too there is dying to do on our way to the Father. In practicing obedience—whether it is the obedience of religious to the will of their superiors, the obedience of parents to the needs of their children, or the obedience of Christians to the teachings of the Gospel—we acknowledge that there is a larger plan, a greater good, beyond satisfying our own desires.
While we may occasionally chafe under the burden of serving another's will and of the little daily dyings, we know that we must all eventually respond, with much more at stake, to the demands of death, our inescapable destiny. Surrendering ourselves while still on the road of life robs death of its tyranny and makes both our life and death meaningful. But this graced surrender does not come easily. Dying along the way takes practice.
Holy Week gives us a new opportunity to acknowledge that we need to be saved, especially from ourselves. Positioning ourselves with Jesus before his Father, we seek, like Jesus, to abandon ourselves to God and thus find true life in Him.
This reflection by Br. Richard Critz, C.S.C., comes from The Gift of the Cross, a book of Lenten reflections written by Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters, and published by Ave Maria Press. We thank Ave Maria Press, a ministry of the Congregation of Holy Cross, for their generosity in sharing this reflection with us. Check out the Press for more books on Holy Cross.

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