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Palm/Passion Sunday

To speak in response to the story of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be a distraction from the deep meditation in which we find ourselves.

In the gospel of Mark, the cross with all its terrible suffering is a cosmic event that fundamentally shifts the destiny of the world, suffusing it with divine presence, victory, hope and meaning.

Today, the beginning of the most important week in the year, we begin to enter into the paschal mystery – a dying and a rising – a tragedy and a triumph.

Today is not palms or passion, it is both.  It is not triumph or tragedy, it is not dying or rising.  The paschal mystery is triumph in tragedy.  And the liturgy this Sunday introduces us to the whole of this mystery.

There is triumph on the cross, and in Christ’s death on the cross there is life.  Our baptism was a dying and rising, our whole life is a share in this dying and rising.  The core of Christian living is that our dying is our rising.  Christ our King is not simply triumphant on Easter day, he is triumphant on Calvary and is eternally triumphant.

Our response to this, is what Saint Paul said to the People of the church in Philippi “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,…emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,  being born in human likeness.,.. he humbled himself   and became obedient to the point of death—  even death on a cross.

He did not come to display his majesty as God but came to serve. Jesus was always ready to do what the Father asked him and showed us his great love and absolute trust in the Father’s love. Jesus was faithful to God, even to the point of death.  And the faithfulness by which Jesus lived and died is the basis for our reconciliation with God.

This is the model for our behaviour. Saint Paul reminds us that there is a great need to be willing to put aside our personal “eights” in order to become loving servants to one another. Jesus trusted God. Jesus was faithful to God and God honoured that faithfulness. If we believe what we have heard, then we need to live the paradox, to die and to rise to serve others.

Let us pray.

May the power of your love, Lord Christ, fiery and sweet as honey so absorb our hearts as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven. Grant that we may be ready to die for love of your love, as you died for love of our love. Amen.

St Francis of Assisi

The Reverend Canon Camellia Flanagan  tssf.

Grafton Cathedral

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