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April 9, 2017 Palm Sunday

This week I tell you one of the scars in my memory that I never forget.  The Communist Revolution took place some decades ago in Vietnam.  It was a war largely against Americans, as they said.  Right after their victory they sent more than 500,000 individuals to what were called “re-education camps.”  Many of them never saw their family again. Lan’s parents were among those.  Her siblings were scattered.  One of her relatives took her in.  She went to a school which once was a Catholic School but now it became a public one. Pictures of communist leaders and their slogans covered from wall to wall.  No Christian symbols were allowed in school.  It was a new rule.  LAN’s parents tied a wooden cross around her neck before they were forced into exile.  Lan was only 14 years old at that time.  Her new teacher wanted to take the cross off her neck but she didn’t give up.  “You can take it from my corpse” she said.  The people were good enough not to take her cross, but she had to bury her youth in one of those re-education camps and I never saw her again.

The account of Jesus' passion and death shows us clearly that Jesus was faithful to his Father in his mission of service to the point of death and that enmity, jealousy, treachery, fickleness and human suffering, even death, are only apparent obstacles to the accomplishment of God's plan. In this regard, we must emphasise that God's will is human's salvation. Jesus lived, suffered, died and rose for us and for our salvation, that is, for our fulfilment as true human beings. He did not abolish suffering and death, which are a part and parcel of human nature. They were the means our Saviour used to manifest the love of God and the true success: Salvation and eternal life.

Today we shout with the crowd of that first Palm Sunday:  “Hosanna!” which means: “Save, we pray.”  May we prove our loyalty to Christ, as did my friend, Lan, not by a martyrdom death or exile, but a daily loving devotion, special offerings and sacrifices.  This is the path we follow our Lord in this Holy Week