By Kaelanne Jordan
As faithful journey through Holy Week, the most “holy week in the entire year”, Archbishop Jason Gordon invited faithful to examine every day “Are you bending your will to the will of God” or are you seeking to bend God’s will to your will?
The Archbishop hoped that during Holy Week, faithful would become “humbler”, imitate the second reading (Phil 2: 6-11) by “emptying” themselves and come to Jesus with “sweat and tears” asking “Father, please take away this COVID-19 from us; take this suffering and death away from us; take this self-isolation away from us; take this boredom away from us; take this drudgery away from us; take this terrible confinement; take this away from us …” Archbishop Gordon said in delivering the homily for Palm Sunday Mass, 8 a.m. April 5 at the Living Water Community Chapel.
The Archbishop invited faithful to put a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday. Faithful responded to the call by decorating their homes with green branches as a symbol that though we may be physically isolated, but not separated, we are united as the body of Christ. The Mass was livestreamed via Trinity TV, TTT, TV6 and on catholictt.org.
In his homily, the Archbishop however beseeched faithful to “don’t stop there”. Archbishop Gordon said that faithful ought to continue to the next sentence by surrendering like Jesus did during His Passion “Not my will but Your will be done”.
Archbishop Gordon explained that on Good Friday, faithful recite the entire Passion Sunday reading but from the other perspective of John’s Gospel. When we read the Passion, we create a “sandwich” between Palm Sunday on the one hand and Good Friday on the other. Creating the sandwich is also creating a way of understanding this event—the most sacred event that has ever happened in human history.
The Archbishop observed that many times faithful go through the Holy Week and look at the events of Jesus from one perspective, the perspective of the man who had all of this physical suffering.
He however invited faithful to look at the events from another perspective —the perspective of the Second Reading: “though His state was divine, He did not cling to His equality with God but He emptied Himself by becoming human.”
The mystery of suffering that Jesus endured, is not suffering that man has endured.
“This is the mystery of suffering that God has endured for your sake and for my sake. He do all this for we…for our sins and for our salvation.”
Archbishop Gordon explained that in Roman Law, a Roman put to death would be given a dignified death—he would be beheaded. A slave was given the most scandalous, torturous death and that is the cross. “It is the form of more shame and humiliation and that’s what we meditate on as we enter into this Holy Week. That God has taken the form of a slave and taken a most humbling death. A most humiliating death,” Archbishop Gordon said.
To be publicly humiliated is really “one of the worse forms of suffering”, he said. “And what we’re dealing with is God who is publicly humiliated and physically suffering.”
Though God was obedient unto death, Archbishop Gordon commented that faithful do not understand the nature of obedience. “We think obedience is servitude and so we rebel against the notion of obedience itself. And yet obedience is at the very core and centre of spiritual life. We cannot be disciples without obedience to God.”
Does obedience come easily?
“No, it doesn’t,” the Archbishop said. He mentioned that as Jesus was sweating blood and tears, He yielded His whole human faculty to God and goes to the cross…He un-does the sin of Adam, and He un-does the rebellion against God. And He opens for us a pathway towards this God”—God who invites us to surrender our will to His will.