I attended the Palm Sunday anticipated mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tagaytay. The presider was a new ordained priest and he shared the story of Filipinos using the ‘palaspas’ as an amulet and a lucky charm to have more blessings in life.

He encouraged everyone to go beyond the physical presence of this symbol but develop a deeper loving relationship with God.

Let us take the palm branches to our homes and put them some place where we can always see them. Let the palms remind us that Christ is the King of our families, that Christ is the King of our hearts and that Christ is the only true answer to our quest for happiness and meaning in our lives.

And if we do proclaim Christ as our King, let us try to make time for Him in our daily life; let us be reminded that He is the One with Whom we will be spending eternity.

Let us be reminded further that our careers, our education, our finances, our homes, all of the basic material needs in our lives are only temporary.

Let us prioritize and place Christ the King as the primary concern in our lives.

It is only when we have done this that we will find true peace and happiness in our confused and complex world.

Palm Sunday

Can we face these questions on Palm Sunday? Are we willing to follow Jesus, not just to Church but in our daily life? Are we willing to entrust ourselves to Him even when the future is frightening or confusing, believing God has a plan? Are we willing to serve Him until that day when His plan for us on earth is fulfilled? These are the questions of Palm Sunday. Let us take a fresh look at this familiar event. We might be surprised at what we see. It could change us forever.

Palm Sunday is a day to fix our eyes on Jesus and His death on the cross.

It is one of the most important days of the year.

It’s a day to honor the One whose entire life was one of giving, not grasping, one of healing and restoration, not division and rivalry.

It’s a day to praise Jesus for overcoming sin and death through his act of pure, sacrificial love.

By his humility and obedience, Jesus has undone Adam’s prideful attempt to become God—and every attempt that all of Adam’s children have made ever since.

He has shown that the way to heaven is not by grasping for ourselves and striving against one another. It’s not something we earn, and it’s not a kingdom we conquer.

No, Jesus’ death on the cross proves that the way to heaven is one of receiving graciously instead of possessing selfishly.

This can sound so grandiose and heroic that we might think it’s out of our reach. But nothing can be further from the truth.

God sees every act of self-sacrifice, every decision to put someone else’s needs ahead of ours, every decision to empty ourselves.

When we give up time to help our child with yet another math problem, God sees it.

When we listen carefully to a spouse who tells us about her difficult day at work, even if ours was no better, God sees it.

When we put down our car window and offer some food or money to a homeless person, God sees it. He sees them all, and he rewards them.

Every single act of self-giving is a reflection of the cross. And because of that, every act of self-giving warms our Father’s heart and moves him to raise us up a little bit more—just as he did for Jesus.

So fix your eyes on Jesus today, and let his self-giving love move you to be more like him.

“Thank you, Jesus, for your cross! Lord, teach me to follow your path of love.”

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