Catholic Sunday Reflection
by Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza
The famous quote “Live for nothing, or die for something” came from the movie John Rambo. The lead character was requested by a church pastor to help in rescuing a group of missionaries from the hands of the Burmese military regime.
This line made me realize that dying to ourselves is not actually losing something. Rather, it is acquiring something that we can only gain through self-denial.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, we come to reflect on Jesus who denied Himself by dying on the cross. He disregarded His own welfare and comfort in order to save us from our sins. Nevertheless, Jesus’ death was absolutely not a loss nor a sign of defeat for it paved our way to gain something greater, the Eternal Life. In this Holy Week, I invite you to ponder on the following points that the Passion of Christ would like to challenge us.
Point #1 Keep yourself vulnerable. By definition, vulnerability is the capacity to be physically or emotionally hurt. It is the ability to be open to pain and criticisms. Life can never be perfect as we hope it can be. Hence, problems and difficulties are truly unavoidable. Even Prophet Isaiah, in the First Reading, willing submitted himself to humiliation and insults. He said, “I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting” (Is. 50:6). Many of us tend to avoid our own crosses by restoring to various ‘escape routes’ such as vices, illicit activities, early marriage, out of school and idleness. Consequently, we live for nothing at all. Whenever we stand vulnerable carrying our crosses, we have no reason to step back and feel depressed. What are those crosses in your life?
Point #2 Look for opportunities. In the Second Reading, St. Paul exclaimed that Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:8-9). It is in our hands to convert crosses into wonderful opportunities for personal growth. We can make use of those problems to our own advantage and maintain a positive outlook towards them. I believe that if we treat painful experiences as good chances to grow as a person, we will eventually find true happiness. When I was struggling to complete my Masters Degree in Theology, I had to go to the school library almost every day.
Indeed, such challenge to make more researches trained me to be resourceful in life. I learned to be strong and creative in finding solutions for a specific endeavor. What do you think is God teaching you whenever you encounter a problem?
Point #3 Develop a sense of sacrifice. The life of Jesus became a bridge to connect us to the Father once again. By carrying His cross, He carried us back to the Father to become worthy of God’s love and salvation. In the Gospel, Jesus revealed to His disciples at the Last Supper the anticipation of His forthcoming death when He had said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Indeed, we live owing everything to Jesus who died freely without owing anything to us. We live out our Christian Faith to the fullest if we are able to make little sacrifices for other people’s welfare.
Working hard as a father or as a breadwinner, studying well, being charitable to the needy are just some of the imitations of Jesus’ sacrifice. What are you willing to give up for the sake of others?