The Real Tree of Life

And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many nspread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.

Mark 11:7-8 ESV

Palm Sunday reminds us that there is no life without dying to self, there is no victory without a cost, and there is no salvation without a savior. The Cross is death, but through our sinless Savior, life is released. Life that is forgiveness of all our sin, healing of our broken hearts and ravaged souls, freedom from our self-inflicted wounds, and restoration of our broken relationship with God the Father. The Cross is the tree of life for every believer.

There was a time, and it is still not entirely over, when Christianity was rejected precisely because of the Cross. The Cross talked about sacrifice, it was said, the Cross is a sign of denial of life.

We, on the other hand, want life without restrictions and without renunciation. We want to live, nothing more than to live. Don’t let’s be limited by precepts and bans: we want richness and fullness – this is what was said and is still being said. All this sounds convincing and seductive, it is the language of the serpent, who tells us: ‘Don’t let yourselves be afraid! Eat serenely from all the trees in the garden!’

Palm Sunday, however, tells us that the truly great ‘Yes’ is precisely the Cross, that the Cross is the true tree of life. We are not alive to become masters of life, but to give it. Love is a giving of self, and this is why it is the way of true life, symbolized by the Cross.

Pope Benedict XVI, “The Cross of Jesus is the Real Tree of Life” [paragraphing mine]

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