Fatality Doesn’t Have to Be Our Destiny

(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: https://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Mass-Blog-for-Palm-Sunday-2024.mp3)

Palm Sunday is a study of the difference between fate and destiny. The events presented seem predetermined (fated) to ensure our ability to accept the salvation we’re offered (destiny). Let’s sort through them:

In our first reading, Isaiah explores acceptance of a destiny as God’s prophet, despite its consequences:

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. 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. (Is 50:4-7)

Sound familiar? Isaiah presages Jesus’ fate. But in his letter to the Philippians, Paul indicates that through Jesus, God the Father chose the road to crucifixion—thereby offering us a destiny to contemplate:

He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. (Phil 2:6-11)

“Because of this” implies a choice Jesus didn’t have to make, not an inescapable fate. But God’s love made that sacrifice a fait accompli. As we continue onto Mark’s account of Christ’s passion, everything seems fated so WE could choose to accept the destiny Jesus’ fate made possible (Mk 14:1—15:47). Let’s count the ways:

A woman anointed Jesus with perfumed oil, and Jesus already knew why: “She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. … What she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Jesus describes in detail for his disciples the pre-ordained arrangements for their final meal together:

“Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.”

Then Jesus points the fickle finger of fate at one of his own disciples:

“One of you will betray me, one who is eating with me. … For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

Jesus’ fate was “written,” and Judas’s fate seems necessary for its fulfillment. But ALL of his disciples are tied in with that fate, seemingly to warn us 21st century disciples not to choose a destiny riddled with fear:

“All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed.’”

Even Peter seemed fated to fearfully avoid standing up for his Master so we could learn by his example and avoid making fear our destiny:

“This very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”

Finally, when Jesus breathes his last fated breath, a Roman Centurion is the first witness to testify to the truth that saves us:

“Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Believing that is our destiny. Denying it is a fate equal to death.

–Tom Andel


  1. As we begin Holy Week, this blog sets the stage and puts the focus right where it belongs. Jesus made the decision to take on the sins of the world, including yours and mine. He came to do just this, and to show us that the way to the Father is by the way of the cross.

    Take up your cross daily and follow me, He said. Easier said than done, but it’s the only way.

    Will you do it? Will you try?

    • Just reading our part in the Passion this Sunday is a good first step. Our role teaches us that, we’re not just playing a face IN the crowd, you and I are the face OF the crowd. Our challenge is accepting the best-supporting-player award from the Producer. Our motivation is to support each other in this production.

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