The National Catholic Review

Last Palm Sunday I wrote, "Christ began his preparation for Palm Sunday, and for Easter, by taking on human being and then humbling himself, "becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:8, a part of Palm Sunday’s Second Reading. The second stanza of the Hymn to Christ tells us of Christ’s exaltation, his Lordship and the worship of him by all creatures. Exaltation is a part of our future, too, but every Easter I need to remind myself of what came before, and of all the things I might yet still be called to face."

This year I want to focus not on the time between the Cross and the Exaltation, seen as the Resurrection and Ascension, but on the time between Christ’s kenosis (his emptying of himself), his Incarnation, and the Cross. It is important never to lose sight of Christ’s humanity, that he became human to align himself with suffering humanity, not just in empathy but in solidarity. Not only did he suffer, but as a child and as a man he watched others suffer. I think to what degree Jesus himself was able to take on his task, to do the will of his father, because he knew how much it was necessary for the salvation of humanity. How must it have pained Jesus to see a child abused? How much did it cause his heart to ache to watch people hurt each other? He knew suffering not only in his own life, but in the lives of others as he walked this earth. While we know that suffering is and will be redeemed, we must work to stop suffering wherever we can, that suffering which we see done to others and that which we do to others. We must always align ourselves with the "little ones," the children and others, to make certain that we respond to their suffering or make certain that it never occurs. This is the way of Jesus.

John W. Martens