Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord


By M.J. Santa Ana

Who do you say that Jesus is? One might say He is a great moral teacher. Another might say, He was a champion of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized. Still yet, others may see him as a historical figure you hear about all the time but are not sure how relevant He is to your life. Every Sunday during the Creed, we say He is the only Son of God and our Lord. To the Sanhedrin, He was a blasphemer because he claimed to be Son of God. Therefore, the identity of Jesus – whether He is who he claims to be – is central to the events of the Passion and thus to our faith.

The meaning of the words we habitually recite were the reason He was killed. When asked by Caiaphas if He is the Son of God, Jesus answers in the affirmative, and this is what causes the Sanhedrin to declare Him deserving of death since to them, He had committed the ultimate blasphemy – claiming equality with God. In officially condemning the innocent Jesus to crucifixion to acquiesce the chief priests and the crowds, Pontius Pilate implicitly agrees that Jesus’ claim to divinity is enough to consider Him a threat to his “god” – the power and control of the Roman Empire.

We have two very stark choices as to how we will relate to Jesus. One choice is to accept His claim, and align our entire lives – our actions, dreams, hopes, attitudes – with His will. The other choice is to deny His claim, and like Pilate and the Sanhedrin, live according to another standard we see fit. He was not crucified for being a great moral teacher, or important historical figure. As we approach the Easter Triduum, it seems helpful to ponder for ourselves the question of who Jesus is to us – everything else important flows from our personal conviction about who He is.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 50.4-7

Philippians 2.6-11

Matthew 26.14-27.66