Palm Sunday Gospel Reflection
Jesus the Wounded Healer
“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God’s throne” (Heb. 12:2)
It is the time of year when Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, the most important days in human history. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. You may have a crucifix at home, perhaps a small one on a rosary beads. Maybe you can download the picture. The one you see nailed in pain is the wounded healer.
John’s Gospel begins his account of the passing of Jesus thus: “Jesus, knowing that the time had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end.” Jesus might have saved us in a painless way but his total love inspired him to enter into solidarity with all who suffer. He chose to be a seed dying in the earth before producing new life.
Think of all the ways he suffered. Actions speak more loudly than words. By entering suffering he is telling us, “No matter how you are suffering, I am there with you.” He was the victim of fake charges and an unjust trial. Betrayed by a cold kiss. Deserted by close followers. Felt family pain as he looked at his mother at the foot of the cross. Think of the physical suffering … crowned with thorns, scourged with whips, faltering under the cross, nailed through hands and feet. His breathing became more jerky. Every movement of his body stabbed a new pain. He even entered the darkness of spiritual dereliction: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
He has fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “By his wounds we are healed.” The wounded Lord is with us in these difficult days.
The buds of hope can be seen in the extraordinary goodness of people. Heroic, selfless medical staff. Volunteers in every parish making life better for others.
Think of the humble donkey carrying Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I may not have much to offer, but the little sacrifice I make for the wellbeing of others makes me a carrier: not a carrier of virus, but a carrier of Jesus, the wounded healer.
“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.”