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Palm Sunday
Luke 19:28-40
Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Luke 22:14-25:56 or 23:1-49
The obvious theme of the Gospel reading this week is the Passion of Jesus
Christ. The supplemental readings (Isaiah and Philippians), however, call our at-
tention to the flesh and blood Jesus, the Incarnate One, who underwent the Pas-
sion on our behalf.
The Western tradition of Christianity has been greatly influenced by the writings
of the Apostle Paul and the Creedal formulations of the Church. As a result, our
tradition has focused primarily on the post-resurrection Christ figure to the det-
riment of the God who became flesh on our behalf. The first and second read-
ings offered in both Isaiah and Philippians beckon us to consider the human Je-
sus, the tangible one who experienced human existence in first-century Pales-
tine. Our theological lens thus shifts from the Resurrected One to the
Incarnate One. This shift, in my estimation, is a healthy and necessary
shift in our consideration of Jesus. What does it mean to our faith com-
munities that God took on humanity, lived a life of approximately thirty
years, and suffered and died on our behalf? What lessons can we learn
from that life? Who did Jesus show compassion to, dine with, heal,
teach, and count among his very own? Who did Jesus contest with?
Before we let ourselves off the hook by indicting Jewish and Roman
authorities, I would argue that Jesus contested with a certain type of
religio-political arrogance rather than any particular ethnic group.
The shifting of our theological gaze from the Resurrected One to the
Incarnate One this Lenten season challenges us to consider the totality
of the act of God becoming flesh on our behalf rather than simply fo-
cusing on the benefits we partake of based on His triumphant resur-
rection. This shift also challenges us to fully embrace the human agony
that Jesus took on in the Passion. It challenges us to take all of the Sta-
tions of the Cross seriously as a moment in the life and death of the