Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

PALM SUNDAY 2019

Love in its Fullness

Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” (Isaiah)

Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians)

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." (Luke)

I would like to describe the scripture readings this Sunday, as the full giving of oneself from the very beginning until the very end. With this, I am talking of the obedience that the Suffering Servant in Isaiah underwent, the Christ that St. Paul referred to in the second reading, and the very person, Jesus, that both pointed to in the Gospel according to St. Luke. It was obedience in its fullness, even to the point of self-emptying, and enduring suffering for the love of God and neighbour.

Jesus has struggled in following the will of the Father. He really loved His life. In a tense-filled and very stressful moment He sweated, and his sweat turned into droplets of blood. Yet He was still able to utter though with much difficulty, “not my will but yours be done.” In place of His self-giving he could have negotiated, and bargained, and not to undergo all the suffering. It appeared that He tried, yet, it was self-surrender that has the last word. It was obedience until the very end.

Obedience and self-emptying were not only a blessing to oneself. It became also a blessing for the countless many, beginning with the people on his immediate surroundings. Going back to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, he was able to speak words of comfort to the weary, in order to rouse them. In this case, the obedience and self-emptying of Jesus made many proclaim that He is indeed Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It was an immense love, willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others.

We can reflect on this beautiful mystery of our faith. While though like Jesus who has an immensely loving life, we can also give ours to others in many different, yet also beautiful ways. “The grain of wheat dies, so that it can bear fruit.”

I can think of the many occasions of dying to the self to be able to give it to others. And in the many occasions of self-emptying and obedience to the will of God, there are also graces accompanying it. There are fruits. Love in its fullness never goes empty. There are no pretentions. One is truly present to give oneself for the other. And one may have a strong feeling of connection with Jesus, when one gives the self fully for whatever one is doing.

I have a priceless blessing when I talked with a beloved and dear friend who was nearing the end of life. It was again a great blessing that there was a chance to talk with each other, and what amazed me were the beautiful words that came out, “Father, I offer all my pain for all the missionaries.” I have known this special person for a long time already, and knowing the selfless contributions this person has done for the community, family and society, and out of love of God and neighbour, there, up to the very end, this person was still so consistent in self-giving, self-emptying and even obedience to the God of love. Every morning, the Holy Mass was at the top of the agenda, Jesus was top priority, and one has truly lived, what one has proclaimed and worship, “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” Amen.

Fr. Marc Louie M. Calo, MSP

12 April 2019 

Tegelen, The Netherlands


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