“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave . . .
He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.”
From Today’s Second Reading of Philippians 2:6-11
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and recounts the passion of our Lord. The first reading from Isaiah speaks of a mysterious suffering servant who accepts unusually cruel punishment as an essential aspect of his calling. The quote above reminds us that when Christ became incarnate, he emptied himself to take on our humanity, even accepting the cross that would make him our Savior of whom we bend the knee in adoration. The Passion account from Matthew reminds us of the cruelty experienced though rejection and torture so that he could become our Savior and Redeemer.
We too are called to accept the sufferings that life sends our ways, and through them seek purification and maturity in our walk of faith. This quote form John Chyrsostom written in the 4th century reminds us what our attitude should be in carrying our own cross:
“We too, then, when we suffer anything for Christ’s sake, should do so not only with courage, but even with joy. If we have to go hungry, let us be glad as if we were at a banquet. If we are insulted, let us be elated as though we had been showered with praises. If we lose all we possess, let us consider ourselves the gainers. If we provide for the poor, let us regard ourselves as the recipients. Anyone who does not give in this way will find it difficult to give at all. So when you wish to distribute alms, do not think only of what you are giving away; think rather of what you are gaining, for your gain will exceed your loss.”