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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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Your IP: 35.172.150.239
2019-11-12 15:26

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Isaiah 50:4–7; Philippians 2:6–11; Luke 23:1–49

Three sufferings
Jesus suffered in the same three ways that we do: mentally, physically, spiritually.

Father Titus Brandsma was a university president in Holland during World War II. He was arrested by the Nazis
and taken to a concentration camp at Dachau.

There he was isolated in an old dog kennel. His guards amused themselves by ordering him to bark like a dog
when they passed. Eventually he died from torture.

What the Nazis didn’t know was that the priest kept a
diary of his ordeal, writing between the lines of print in
an old prayerbook.

He wrote that he was able to endure his suffering because
he knew Jesus had suffered before him. In a poem addressed to Jesus, he wrote:

“No grief shall fall my way, but I Shall see your grief-filled eyes; The lonely way that you once walked Has made me sorrow-wise. . . .

“Your love has turned to brightest light This night-like way [of mine]. . . .

“Stay with me, Jesus, only stay; I shall not fear If, reaching out my hand, I feel you [are] near.’’ Kilian Healy, Walking with God


The suffering of Jesus, which we recall in a special way today, has been a source of strength to countless people throughout history.

These people, like Fr. Brandsma, could never have endured their suffering without the knowledge that Jesus had suffered before them and was now supporting them in their hour of trial.

As we look back over the suffering of Jesus, we see that he suffered in three different ways.

First, he suffered mentally.

Jesus experienced this kind of suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood just thinking about the ordeal
that lay before him. Jesus also suffered mental anguish
when his followers betrayed and deserted him.

All of us can relate to mental suffering. We’ve all experienced it. For example, a 15-year-old runaway was describing mental suffering when he said in an interview in Parade magazine:

“I never had a real family. I never saw my real father. I’m always lonely . . . I feel like there must be something wrong with me . . . I must be bad. I feel like I don’t exist because nobody ever loved me.’’

In time of mental suffering, often the only comfort we have
is the knowledge that Jesus suffered the same way before us
and is now supporting us in our hour of trial.
Second, Jesus suffered physically.

He was brutally beaten, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross.

Again, we can all relate to physical pain. We’ve all experienced it, some more than others.

It was this kind of pain that Dr. Sheila Cassidy endured in Chile in the early 1970s. She was a medical doctor and made the fatal mistake of treating a wounded government protester.
The police arrested her, tortured her, and tried to force her to name people involved in the resistance movement.

Stretched out, like Jesus on the cross, she endured physical pain for four days. Reflecting on the ordeal, she wrote:

“I was experiencing in some slight way what Jesus suffered.
All during the [ordeal] . . . I just felt that he was there, and I asked him to help me hang on.’’

Again, in time of physical suffering, often the only comfort we have is knowing that Jesus suffered the same way and is now supporting us in our hour of trial.

Finally, Jesus suffered spiritually.

For example, as he hung helplessly on the cross, it seemed that even his Father had deserted him. He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Psalm 22:1

Again, we can all relate to spiritual suffering. There have been times when all of us have felt abandoned by God.

It’s the kind of suffering  that an American priest,Walter Ciszek, endured in Russia, where he was imprisoned for 23 years. On one occasion he became so spiritually depressed
that he was on the brink of total despair.

But instead of giving up, he imitated Jesus on the cross and turned to God the Father in his hour of trial. He said:

“I told God that my abilities were now bankrupt and he was my only hope. . . . I can only describe that experience as a  sense of ‘letting go.’ ’’

At that moment, as never before, Fr. Ciszek understood the meaning of Jesus’ last words on the cross: “Father! In your hands I place my spirit!” Luke 23:46

That one decision, he said later, enabled him to carry on and to survive.

And so Jesus suffered in all the three ways that a human being can suffer.

He suffered mentally, enduring the pain of betrayal.

He suffered physically, enduring the pain of torture.

Finally, he suffered spiritually, enduring the pain of abandonment.

There’s a message here for all of us. When we find ourselves suffering in one of these ways, we should turn to Jesus. He knows how we feel, and he will not fail to strengthen us.

And this brings us back to our opening story of Fr. Brandsma.

When we find ourselves suffering in one of these ways, we can do no better than repeat Fr. Brandsma’s prayer to Jesus:

“No grief shall fall my way, but I Shall see your grief-filled eyes; The lonely way that you once walked Has made me sorrow-wise. . . .

“Your love has turned to brightest light This night-like way [of mine]. . . .

“Stay with me, Jesus, only stay; I shall not fear If, reaching out my hand, I feel you [are] near.’’
 
Series II
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Isaiah 50:4–7; Philippians 2:6–11; Luke 23:1–49

The rocking chair
Jesus’ suffering is a sign of love, an invitation to love, and a revelation about love.

The principal of a prominent high school in Dallas, Texas,
has an old-fashioned rocking chair sitting in his office.

When someone asked him about it, he said that it had belonged to his grandmother. She used to baby-sit with
him a lot because he had poor health as a child.

The rocking chair used to sit in his grandmother’s living
room, just a few feet away from a crucifix that hung on the wall above a sofa.

One night his grandmother told him the story of Jesus
and how he died nailed to a cross. The boy was moved
by the story.

That night he didn’t sleep well. He tossed and turned,
thinking about Jesus nailed to the cross on the wall
above the sofa.

Early the next morning, he got up and went to the living room.
He climbed up on the sofa, took the crucifix down from the wall, and laid it on the floor.

Then the boy got a metal letter opener from his  grandmother’s desk, knelt beside the crucifix,
and tried to pry the nails out of the hands and feet
of Jesus. But they wouldn’t budge. He began to cry.
About this time his grandmother heard him and came out of her bedroom. When she saw the crucifix on the floor and her grandson crying beside it, she said,“Honey, what’s wrong?’’

“Grandma, Grandma,’’ he sobbed, “I’m trying to get Jesus out of his nails. It’s not right for him to be in nails. It’s not right!’’

With that, his grandmother reached down, picked him up,
and walked over to the rocker. She sat down and held him in her arms. Then she began to rock him. When he had quieted down, she said:

“Honey, I know that right now you’re too young to understand why Jesus was nailed to a cross. But someday
 you will understand.

“When that day comes, the crucifix will no longer be something ugly to you. Rather, it  will  be  something
beautiful, because it will remind you how much Jesus
loves you.’’

That morning,’’ said the principal, “sitting in my grandmother’s lap in the rocking chair, I got my first
insight into the deeper meaning of the crucifixion.’’
That’s a lovely story, not just because of its simple beauty,
but also because of its sound theology.
For it focuses on the important thing about the crucifixion of Jesus. It focuses not on the suffering of Jesus but on the love of Jesus that led him to suffer.

In the principal’s own words, it focuses on the deeper meaning of the crucifixion.

And what is that deeper meaning? It can be summarized
in three simple statements.

First, the crucifixion is a sign of Jesus’ love. It points to how much Jesus loves us. It says in the most dramatic way possible
what Jesus said so often in his lifetime:

“The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them.” John 15:13

Second, the crucifixion is an invitation to love. It invites us to imitate Jesus. It invites us to love one another as he loved us.

“[L]ove one another,” [said Jesus,] “just as I love you. John 15:12


Finally, the crucifixion is a revelation about love. It reminds
 us of something that we tend to forget. It reminds us that love entails suffering.

“If any of you want to come with me,” he told them, “you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34

And so the beautiful story of the little boy and his grandmother ends up focusing on the important message
of the crucifixion.
It focuses not on the suffering of Jesus but on the love that led Jesus to suffer.

This is also the message contained in today’s readings.

It is also the message that Jesus wants to communicate to us
in the Holy Week ahead.

It is the message of Jesus’ love for us a love that led him to die on the cross.

It is more. It is an invitation for us to love one another as Jesus loves us.
Let’s close with a poem by Fr. Titus Brandsma.

Fr. Brandsma was a university president in Holland
during World War II. He was arrested by the Nazis
and placed in a concentration camp.

There he was isolated in an old dog kennel. His guards amused themselves by ordering him to bark like a dog
every time they passed. Eventually he died from torture.

What the Nazis didn’t know was that the priest kept a diary of his ordeal, writing between the lines of print in an old prayerbook.

It was there that the following poem was found. It is addressed to Jesus. A portion of it reads:

“The lonely way that you once walked Has made me sorrow-wise. . . .

“Your love has turned to brightest light This night-like way of mine. . . .

“Stay with me, Jesus, only stay; I shall not fear If, reaching out my hand, I feel that you are near.’’ Kilian Healy, Walking with God (adapted)
 
Series III
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Isaiah 50:4–7, Philippians 2:6–11, Luke 23:1–49

Holy Week
This week invites us to open our hearts to the graces God wishes to give us.

When they came to the place called “The Skull,” they crucified Jesus. Luke 23:33

Madame Chiang Kai-shek was the wife of the founder of modern Taiwan. She writes:

One day while reading about the Crucifixion, I paused at a passage describing how the centurion used a spear to pierce Jesus’ side and how blood and water flowed from the wound.

She continues, saying:

Now, I had read that passage many times before, and it never particularly moved me. This time, however, I wept.

For the first time I realized that His suffering and pain were for me. I cried and cried, overcome with my own unworthiness.

It was a peculiar sensation, at once great grief and great release.

I seldom weep, for as children we were trained not to show emotion. But this was a torrent, like a flood. I could not control it.

At the same time, my heart felt light and relieved, feeling that my sins were washed away with those tears.

I had experienced what is called an old-fashioned conversion.
No other word will do.

Thenceforth I was not only intellectually convinced but personally attached to my Lord.
“The Power of Prayer” in Reader’s Digest (August 1955)

That graced moment in the life of Madame Chiang Kai-shek has a lot to teach us.

First of all, it illustrates the power of the word of God
to touch our hearts. This is especially true of the narrative
of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Like Madame Chiang Kai-shek we may have read it or heard it read many times without experiencing anything special.

But if we continue to strive to take it to heart, the moment
will come when we will experience it in a way similar to the way she did. Recall how she said:

Now, I had read that passage many times before, and it never particularly moved me. This time, however, I wept.

Madame Chiang goes on to say that it was especially remarkable that she should weep, because she had been taught as a child to suppress her emotions.


Commenting on the reason she wept so profusely, she said that for the first time in her life she realized Jesus was dying for her sins.

What made the situation even more moving was that she felt so unworthy that he should do that for her.

The impact of all this on her was one of overwhelming
grief. Yet, she says, at the same time, it was also one of  overwhelming relief because the death of Jesus on the cross had freed her from all her sins.

The end result of her experience, she said, was not only that
 it left her “intellectually convinced” that Jesus was her Lord, but also that it touched her heart and left her “personally attached” to him as her Lord.

That brings us to the application of all this to each one of us here.

First of all, the story of Madame Chiang illustrates how God can surprise us at any moment in our lives, just as he surprised her.

And God can and will do this for us in spite of our  unworthiness. God wants to do it for us, if we but
open our hearts to him.
And what better time in the whole year to open our hearts to Jesus than in Holy Week which, traditionally, has been the most grace-filled week of the entire liturgical year.
Abeautiful example of someone who did that is an old Polish Jew who survived the massacre of a Warsaw ghetto
in World War II. He said:

As I looked at that man upon the cross . . . I knew I must
make up my mind once and for all.

I must either take my stand beside him and share in his undefeated faith in God . . . or else fall finally into a bottomless pit of bitterness, hatred, and unutterable despair.
S. Paul Shilling, God in an Age of Atheism
Let us conclude with this meditation by Anthony Padavano in his book Who Is Christ? He writes:

The suffering of Christ on the cross is meant not for itself,
but for something else.

Christ does not suffer because suffering is in itself a value
but because love without restraint requires suffering. . . .

It is not the physical death of Jesus which is redemptive
but the love of Jesus for us even unto death. . . .

The crucified Jesus is a sign that love may suffer,
but it overcomes. . . .

The man of faith has found [in Jesus] a hope stronger than history and a love mightier than death.