Readings: Luke 19:28-40; Isa 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Luke 22:14– 23:56 or 23:1-49
Scripture: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. (Phil 2:6)
Reflection: As we enter Holy Week, we do so knowing full well what’s ahead and how quickly we humans can take goodness and light and snuff it out, all for our own benefit. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a wave of hosannas, palm fronds bowing in adulation, but in a matter of days, the praise and glory will be trampled under the weight of self-preservation fueled by fear. A deadly combination. Jesus, God among us, will quietly, willingly suffer what we demand through our broken humanity and twisted sense of self.
Which brings us to today’s second reading, a powerful and poetic verse outlining a harsh reality we read but cannot fully assimilate. Jesus “did not regard equality with God / something to be grasped.” The Son of God did not attempt to put himself on equal footing with God the Father. If only we humans could do the same. Since the dawn of creation, humans have attempted to make ourselves into gods, to put ourselves on equal footing with the One who created us and the One who died for us. And God, in his infinite mercy, not only allows it but continues to embrace us in spite of it, which is how we end up at Palm Sunday and all that is to come this week, looking up at a cross on which we have hung the Savior of the world because he did not live up to our expectations. Jesus could not grasp equality with God, but, somehow, we find a way. It’s remarkable, really, that we can be so bold in the face of the One who is and was and is to come.
Meditation: When was the last time you approached God with good old-fashioned awe and wonder, not because you had a specific prayer answered but just because God is God. Today, spend some time with this Scripture verse and ponder what it would mean to empty yourself out before God, before Jesus, with heartfelt humility and gratitude. What would that look like? Can you stop trying to take the controls and let God be God?
Prayer: Father, forgive us for our indiscretions, our human weaknesses, the same weaknesses that led the throng to yell, “Crucify him.” We bow our heads at the mention of Jesus’ name, knowing we are not worthy and yet are loved beyond measure. Help us never to forget that beautiful truth.
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