Editor’s Note: Archbishop Socrates Villegas first wrote this Palm Sunday reflection in April 2011. Rappler is republishing this with his permission to mark Holy Week 2018.
The first day of Holy Week is called Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. We recall the triumphant entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, hence the blessing of palm branches. Beyond this majestic welcome will be the mockery and scourging, the crucifixion and death of the same Lord. In calling this day Passion Sunday, we recall the pains the Lord endured in the hands of men; we remember the death he valiantly faced. We remember the love that he poured into his sufferings.
There is a second meaning to the words “passion of Christ.” It could also refer to the zest that comes from within him – a great commitment to somebody or to something. Passion could also mean a powerful or compelling feeling within us that drives us to think and talk and act in a consonant fashion.
The passion of Christ is love. The passion of Christ is the will of the Father. The passion of Christ is our salvation. What is your passion?
When I ask you “What is your passion?” I mean to ask, “What animates you?” What excites you? What sets you on fire? What do you believe in? Are you still a Christian with firm convictions, or have we become so deeply compromised that we are no longer sure on which we stand? Analysis kills our passion and fire. Grain once ground to flour, springs and germinates no more (Henri Amiel). What is it in your life that you are willing to die for? What is it in your life that you are willing to suffer for?
The color of this day is red because red is the color of fire. It is also the color of blood. Indifference must be cured with fire. The uncaring attitude must give way to a passion for love. Christ’s sufferings must urge us to be more involved and be more passionate. Apathy must give way to involvement for the transformation of society.
Let us allow the fire and blood of Holy Week to set our hearts on fire with a passion for stewardship. May the Lord ignite our hearts and inspire our souls for stewardship as we move closer to Easter.
This is our Credo of Stewardship:
I believe in the God of love,
the owner of everything who possesses everyone.
I believe in the God of mercies who has chosen me
to be a steward of Mother Nature and Mother Church,
in spite of who I am and what I have done,
and in spite of the infidelities He knows I will still commit.
I believe in the power of giving
and in the power of loving like Jesus;
because love is the only way to holiness;
giving is the best proof of loving;
and perfect renunciation leads to unlimited fruitfulness.
I believe that in freely giving my time,
in humbly sharing my talents,
and in generously sacrificing my treasures,
the Lord will always provide.
He will take care of all my needs,
and bless me with infinite reward on earth and in heaven.
I will be the first to give.
I will not wait for the others.
I will keep on giving even if others do not give.
I will not be afraid to have none.
I believe that the best time to share is now, not tomorrow,
for tomorrow is an excuse of the greedy.
I will keep my needs and wants simple and few,
for I believe that in reducing my selfishness,
I will grow in happiness and holiness.
I am a steward of the Lord.
I will return all these to Him with abundant yield!
Much is asked of me because much has been given to me.
I praise the Lord for His kindness to me
Now and forever.
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