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Palm Sunday Reflection

Maria Vasquez

Associate Maria is involved in many ministries in her parish, Sacred Heart/Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As I was reading the gospel for Palm Sunday, I was struck by such contrasts from welcoming and cheering to violence – betrayal, deceit, injustice and death. As a mother I felt the anguish that Mary must have felt to witness her son’s pain and suffering. And there is a part of me that is in awe of Jesus obedience to his Father – to die on the cross for us.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ – Such powerful words of anguish that you feel down to your soul. Sometimes the pain and fear is so great that you cannot see a way out. Hopeless, helpless! This past year has been difficult for our community in Back of the Yards in Chicago, IL. The violence that has plagued the community, the senseless killing of young people and then these last two weeks – the presence of ICE! The feelings of persecution, helplessness, anger, anguish and lots of fear. My heart broke as I spoke to families where a loved one was detained and listened as they tried to make sense of what was happening. Hearing the stories of young undocumented adults as they try to prepare for the worst. The children fear that their family could be torn apart at any time. As we drive through the community being hyperaware to see if ICE has come back. It takes a toll.

And yet, we must remember, yes Jesus died but he rose from the dead!!! Hope is our salvation. In the midst of all this fear and anguish, the community has come together in solidarity to stand for what is right! To fight injustice we must stand together. Our community will come together on Good Friday and participate in the Way of the Cross. The theme for this day is “Walking with Jesus – the Immigrant”. This is a reminder that Jesus walks with us in those moments of darkness where sometimes we cannot see the light. He has not abandoned us just like his Father did not abandon him.

We cannot see Him or feel Him, but He is present in the faces of those that stand against injustice, discrimination, and racism. He walks with the marginalized, the oppressed, the sick, and the needy. His death followed by his Resurrection gives us the light of hope.


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