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Today we recognize the first day of the Triduum—Palm Sunday. On this special Sunday, we read two Gospels. The first takes us through Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the second follows the events of Jesus’ passion.

With both readings from the Gospel of Mark, they invite us to reflect on the purpose of Jesus’ death.

The first Gospel begins two days before Passover. Seeking a way to arrest and sentence Jesus to death, the chief priests and scribes conspire against him. The reading follows Jesus through the moments leading up to his passion, from his anointing at Bethany—a sign of his death to come—and Judas’ betrayal to Jesus’s agony in the garden, his arrest, and Peter’s denial.

The second Gospel continues the story, leading us into Jesus’ sentencing and crucifixion. It concludes with Jesus’ death and burial.

Throughout Mark’s Gospel, we see references to Jesus as the Son of God. But as followers of Jesus, we understand his death on the cross to be the greatest affirmation. There is no greater declaration of faith than sacrifice.

On the first day of the Triduum, there are several important themes to explore in today’s readings. But we are compelled to reflect on those that surround Jesus’ final moments on the cross.

Jesus appeared to suffer alone. But we know he did not. Though he was unseen, God was with Jesus and proved his presence when Jesus rose from the dead. Today, we identify this as a sign to all those who believe they are suffering alone. For even in our darkest hours, God is always present.

Dr. Jose takes at the Mutomo Mission Hospital in Kenya in 2019

Dr. Jose Garcia, Kenya 2019

We will conclude this week’s reflection with the words of Dr. Jose Garcia Ulerio. A former volunteer, Dr. Jose served with us in both Kenya and Sudan and continues to support our mission as a CMMB ambassador. His reflection below is a powerful reminder that even when hope feels distant, we are never alone.

When I went to Sudan, I found myself asking God how the suffering I saw was possible. And I’m still having that struggle inside of me. But what I saw was humanity, a sense of being human and helping my fellow human. I saw it in people from other tribes helping each other, in mothers taking care of another’s baby, and I saw it when they signed the peace agreement. There were people coming home to Nuba who had not been able to come back.

Sisters that hadn’t seen each other for years because of the war saw each other for the first time. I saw how another human being can be compassionate and be sensitive to the suffering of another. I saw that.

In grace and peace,


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*Portions of today’s reflection were adapted from and inspired by the Loyola Press Sunday Connection.