Did Jesus long for His Passion?
A reflection for Palm Sunday
by Jesse and Kathleen LeBlanc
I have often wondered if our Lord was ever longing for the events of His crucifixion to begin. Of course, in His human nature, He naturally feared the suffering to come. But as God, He also must have been longing, in a sense, for the events to begin. Not because He wanted the suffering but because He knew what joy and restoration were to come because of it.
As Jesse and I await the arrival of our third baby, this feeling of anticipated suffering with subsequent reward is certainly relatable! The closer I get to labour, the more I almost long for the feeling of contractions to begin because I am just so looking forward to meeting the little baby that’s been growing inside me for nine months. It’s such a weird paradox because I know that in the midst of labour, I’ll be desperately wanting the suffering to be over! But the knowledge of what’s to come after the pains of labour is trumping the fear of the pain that must take place first.
During Christ’s years on earth, I can only imagine He must have felt this paradox of anticipation mixed with fear, knowing what was to come. In this Sunday’s readings, we hear about Christ’s joyous welcome into Jerusalem before His Passion begins, as well as a heartbreaking description of the pain He went through for our Redemption. His pain was something none of us will ever know to the same degree, yet the triumph of the Resurrection would be His greatest joy, as He knew He was defeating death and opening the doors to be with His children (us!!) for all eternity.
We even hear Christ say to His disciples, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15). It is clear that Christ knew the purpose for His suffering, and His Passion was something He embraced for love of us. Knowing that His suffering was an act of love and Redemption for us gave Him strength to endure the most intense suffering.
If only we could see as clearly as He did, or as mothers do in labour, the triumph that is to come in other areas of suffering in our lives. But what about those moments where we can’t see the purpose of our suffering? I think most often it’s hard to know why God allows suffering, pain, grief, and hardship in our lives. Whether it is sickness, death, infertility, waiting to meet your spouse, even suffering as intense as war, we can often fall into despair. Our suffering can often seem so purposeless, and we lose the ability to press on.
But only because of Christ's suffering can we even hope for Resurrection and new life to come from any form of suffering we experience on this earth. No amount of suffering need go to waste when we unite it to His. All we need to do is pray, “Lord, may your will be done in this experience of suffering.” And He will make it something beautiful. We may not see it right away, or even this lifetime.
But in this Sunday’s first reading, we hear the words from Isaiah:
“The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”
– Isaiah 50:7
Repeatedly in Scripture, God promises that our suffering will not be the end. His Resurrection has the final word over death and suffering. He is inviting us into a relationship of deep trust in the midst of our hardships, especially the ones with a hidden purpose.
As Jesse and I anticipate the suffering and joy we know we will experience through labour, delivery, and even parenting, we are praying that we can unite it all to Christ’s Cross and Resurrection, knowing He has a great purpose, even greater than the purpose we can see with our own eyes. We are grateful for this small window into His sacrifice for us and His love for us as His children.
We pray that as you enter into Holy Week, you are able to surrender any of your sufferings – especially the ones that are seemingly purposeless – to His will, knowing that His Resurrection will transform all that you give to Him. We pray that His Cross and Resurrection give you the hope you need to persevere, even in your deepest sufferings.
The readings for Palm Sunday are
Luke 22:14 – 23:56
Jesse and Kathleen LeBlanc live in Brantford, Ontario, with their two children and one on the way. Together, they lead a music ministry called Found Together. Their music can be found anywhere you stream music, and you can follow them on Instagram: @wearefoundtogether