Palm Sunday
April 13, 2014


It was, very aptly stated, the appointed time! The words came from Jesus, no less: “My appointed time draws near.” First, we need to clarify what the appointed time is not. First, it is not coincidental. It did not come out of happenstance, from out of the blue. Second, it was not something totally unexpected, totally uncalled for, totally out of the Lord’s foreknowledge, and beyond his level of awareness. Jesus saw it coming. Jesus, by then, had total grasp of what and who he was, and what his mission from the Father was.

The appointed time is the “hour” that has come – the time of salvation, the moment of truth, the time that was foreordained, foreseen, foretold and prophesied ever so gradually from generation to generation. It was the beginning of the hour of fulfillment, that was part of the mystery long hidden but now gradually revealed, and gradually unfolding. It was the appointed “hour” for its fulfillment to take place in earnest.

That mystery of the Christ, his birth, passion, death and resurrection is broad and deep. That mystery is what today, Passion Sunday, opens for us, a mystery waiting to be savored, understood, lived, and loved.

The mystery is so broad it spans a complete panoply of emotions … from triumphant and tumultuous joy to soulful and solemn silence; from a heart-rending sense of vicarious passion to active compassion … name it, this entire Holy Week has it.

The mystery is so deep it pores through the even more complex layers of theological discourse … from an appreciation of Jesus’ humanity to an awed recognition of the same Christ’s divinity; from the acceptance of his bodily self-immolation and total self-giving on the Cross, to the appropriation of the Christ’s total self-giving of His Body and Blood from the first Eucharist during the Last Supper and onwards. Name it, and the entire Holy Week coming our way has it.

The mystery is so multi-faceted that all of salvation history, all that the Church teaches and stands for essentially is here for the knowing; here for the understanding; and here, too, for the doing.

The mystery is well worth reflecting on. This we do in abundant, but pregnant silence from the time the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament is done and the Paschal Fast begins, up till the Paschal Vigil of Saturday night, when the Alleluia and the Gloria will once more reverberate in all Churches all over the Christian Catholic world. The mystery is well worth participating in. This, we do in our Way of the Cross on Good Friday, right after the Veneration of the Cross, timed preferably at 3 PM. The mystery is also worth living in actuality. This we do, as we take part in the Lord’s passion via our Paschal Fast, and the fasting and abstinence on Good Friday.

Today, Palm or Passion Sunday, the whole mystery unfolds in memory, mystery, history, pageantry and poetry. It is tiring. It can be boring. It can be hot, as to make people pine for Boracay, Borawan, or simply for a soothing glass of cold water or a long, refreshing stroll in the cooler Malls that now act as cathedrals of commerce. But one thing we cannot say about it is that it is meaningless.

On the contrary, it so meaningful and theologically and spiritually significant … for those who are willing and open enough to drink in the fullness of what Palm Sunday and all of Holy Week stand for.

The appointed time is drawing near. It has come in history. It is still coming in mystery. And we celebrate it not just in memory, but in actuality. It is meant to be savored, understood, lived … and loved … Now!