Christ Emptied Himself
This weekend, we celebrate Palm Sunday with an unlikely verse:
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, 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 death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:5-8, NAB
Of course, the Mass begins with the traditional Triumphal Entry and Palm Sunday story, which we covered in the past (here and here), but the day’s readings also include this look at Jesus’ humility, as Christ emptied Himself to become man and accept the horrible fate that awaited Him.
The Palm Sunday story is a rare story where Jesus allows Himself to be praised, but seemingly only to fulfill Old Testament prophecies; however, the rest of this Sunday’s readings quickly turn their attention to darker stories.
The Gospel discusses Jesus’ predicting that He would be betrayed, an argument over who was the greatest, Christ’s rebuking of Peter as Satan, the disciples’ inability to stay awake when needed, Jesus predicting Peter’s 3 denials, and finally, the actual betrayal of Christ.
We begin the Mass with celebrating the Triumphal Entry, but then it turns to discussing how quickly we turn our backs on Christ. Christ the King is betrayed, and He had to empty Himself to allow this to happen. He had to leave His divinity behind and accept the fate that awaited Him.
This Palm Sunday, as much as we celebrate Christ as our King, let us not forget how quickly we will turn our backs and betray Him through our sinful ways. Still, Christ emptied Himself anyway, knowing that we needed His grace. He suffered so that we may not have to.