Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023

by Edward McKibbin, Notre Dame Associate

Palm Sunday, the First and Second Readings, and the Passion remind us yet again that Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world. The Son of God came not to be served, but to serve. The Second Reading tells us that Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. In contrast, he emptied himself so radically that the reading tells us He took the form of a slave.

Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem as a king, but then we quickly see that he embraces hardship and suffering in order to do his Father’s will and save us. Jesus endures betrayal, the agony of anticipating his horrific death, torture, and ultimately crucifixion because of his tremendous love for us. How many persons in authority through history to the present have served and serve their people in this way? Very few because most view their authority and this life as the end all, be all. Jesus provides this contrasting example for us.

This past week here in Central Illinois we suffered the loss of two local young men who lost their lives in a freak accident while on spring break. These young men were tremendous leaders both on and off the courts and fields of play, would have graduated from high school in the next few months and embarked upon very bright futures. They were leaders of their high school and their local community, kings in their own way. But this tragedy reminds us yet again that their kingdoms, and our kingdoms, like that of Jesus, are not of this world. It is really the only way we can make sense out of the tragedies and difficulties of this life. Jesus suffered and died for us so that we can ultimately be a part of his eternal kingdom.