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April 13, 2014

The Communist Revolution took place some decades ago in Vietnam.  It was an uprising largely to seize the control of the government.  The new people in power intended to erase all religions especially Catholicism.  To emphasize their deadly intent, they seized all Catholic schools and Catholic institutions.  In a particular school in my village they blocked all the gates but one.  On the ground in front of that gate they laid a cross.  Anyone who trampled on that cross could go free.  Anyone who walked around it would be shot to death.

The first 7 students trampled on the cross and went free.  The eighth, a girl in her early teenage, knelt before the cross, walked respectfully around it and was shot immediately.  Many of the students followed her example.  A few more were shot.  Dozens were sent to the concentration camps and buried their most beautiful years in forced labors and tortures.

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, that is, human fulfilment. In this regard, we must emphasize 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 part and parcel of human nature, but rather proved that they were not obstacles to human fulfilment, on the contrary, that they were the path to 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 those students, not by a martyrdom death, but a daily devotion, special offerings and sacrifices.  This is the path we follow our Lord in this Holy Week.