Occasion: Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion, April 9, 2016
Second Reading, Philippians, 2:6-11
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
did not regard equality with God, emptied himself, humbled himself, obedient to the point of death, exalted him, Jesus Christ is Lord
In this letter, St. Paul describes how Jesus, who was in the form of God, took the form of man. He does not say that Jesus ceased to be God, only that he was God and also became human. It is tough to wrap the mind around the fact that he was both. There are countless theological treatises on the subject, going back centuries, but we can save those for another time.
It is easy to overlook the idea of Jesus being human. We know he was, but do we accept that he was?
At this stage of Lent, we see Jesus at his most human. Last week, he wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. This week, he will be increasingly upset as the time of his passion draws near. At dinner, he will announce that one of the twelve is about to betray him. Later, he wants his three closest friends nearby while he goes off to pray. He even asks his Father if it is possible for him to not have to go through with the coming events. Notice, he does not ask to get out of it, but only if it is possible to skip it. Through it all, he is obedient. He follows the plan his Father has for him.
Jesus faced temptations, just as we do. Satan believed enough in his humanity to present him with temptations very similar to our own; ego, power, and what we think we need. He resisted, accepting the Father’s will over his own.
Jesus ultimately accepted humanity to suffer and die for our sins. He became fully human, experiencing the same emotions we do, and showed us that it is possible to accept God’s will for us over our own desires and fears.