Monday, April 14, 2014

The Passion amid the palms

Yesterday I read a blogger wonder why the Passion is read on Palm Sunday.

I know there must be liturgical reasons, but I think it’s because we need to be reminded of the reality of the passion, especially in the lives of persons.

The Palm Sunday processions here, on the streets of cities, towns, and villages, are often great manifestations of Catholicism, which – I fear – may sometimes verge on triumphalism.

Christ is acclaimed as King. But sometimes he is made to look more like the kings of this world who use violence to enforce their will and their decrees.

Sunday in Dulce Nombre we had a procession through the streets – with palms and songs.

The blessing started in a field about a kilometer from the church.


Then we marched, amid songs to the church, many of them proclaiming Christ as King.

At Mass the Passion was read and Padre German gave a short homily (only about 15 minutes).

“When a man or a woman suffer, Christ is still suffering his Passion,” he said. Where there is bloodshed, where people are made fun of, when the just are beaten down, there we find Calvary. The passion of the people is the passion of Christ.

This reminded me of a quote from Thomas Merton in A Vow of Conversation:
We have to see history as a book that is sealed and opened only by the Passion of Christ. But we prefer to read it from the viewpoint of the Beast. We look at history in terms of hubris and power — in terms of the beast and his values. Christ continues to suffer his passion in the poor, the defenseless, and his Passion destroys the Beast. Those who love power are destroyed together with what they love. Meanwhile, Christ is in agony until the end of time.
When we concentrate only on the Hosannas, we miss the suffering around us. We can look to a “god” who really is not the God who loves the poor.

But when we recognize God in the humble one, seated on a donkey, a burrito in Spanish, we can recognize God in the poor and respond in love.


More photos from Palm Sunday in Dulce Nombre can be found here.

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