Homily - Palm Sunday Year C. 14-04-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.

14 April 2019 

Homily for Palm Sunday Year C. 14-04-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm: Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56

Today we celebrate specially the Palm Sunday with which we officially inaugurate the Holy Week. This begins the most solemn period in the life of the Church during which we commemorate the paschal mystery of Christ. Beginning today, we celebrate His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as our King and Messiah where He will be betrayed, He will suffer and die, but on the third day rise again from the dead. The ‘Suffering Servant of Yahweh” of deutero-Isaiah in our first reading today in his experience foreshadowing Christ, foresees this fate that shall befall Christ as He enters Jerusalem, where He would likewise be beaten up, insulted, spat upon, and would not offer any resistance but submit in loving trust to God even to the point of giving up His life.
He came as King, that is why He entered Jerusalem in pomp and style, recognized by the people as they carried palm branches and spread their clothes for Him to ride on. This was a gesture of submissiveness to His authority as King. No doubt this was a direct fulfilment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on a donkey and upon a colt of the foal of a donkey.’ However, the irony of it is that His kingship was of a different kind. Even though the people carried palms and sang ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,’ many were disillusioned because He did not match their kind of expected Messiah. They were expecting a military leader who would use physical power and force of an army to set them free from Roman domination, but instead they saw a non-violent military leader of a spiritual army who would be killed by being nailed to a cross. He was a king who chose to reign not in palaces but who chose the Cross as His throne to show us the extent of His love for us. Indeed God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). That is why He chose the Cross, the symbol of defeat, weakness, shame, and death, to bring us victory, strength, pride and life everlasting. So today we are to remember and embrace the Cross of Christ, which is our surest path to the resurrection at Easter; for without Good Friday, there is no Easter.
Pope St. John Paul II said that ‘the Cross is the first letter of God’s alphabet and it is written in the life of each person.’ This is true because God’s love is revealed to us on the Cross, and His life is given to us also from the Cross. That is why St. Paul reminds us in Romans 5:8 ‘But God proves His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ The Cross is therefore inevitable in our lives as humans. No one can escape the Cross, whether you are a believer or not. The only choice we have is to choose how to respond to the reality of the Cross in our lives. And this we see in the attitude of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. The bad one responds by mockery – are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. But the good one responds with humility – we have been justly condemned. Jesus, remember me. The bad thief rejected the Cross, resulting in self-exultation, rage and despair, but the good thief embraced the Cross with its shame and suffering, resulting in his forgiveness, healing, hope and restoration. What is your own attitude to the Cross of Christ?
Holy Week is the moment to journey with Christ who enters Jerusalem and carries His Cross to Calvary where He will work out our salvation through His death and resurrection. And we cannot journey with Him unless we welcome His Cross into our lives. To welcome the Cross of Christ is to welcome Christ who hung on it, and this requires humility and the docility of the donkey and its owners who meekly gave it to Christ’s disciples upon request that the master has need of it. When we accept to do God’s will in our lives without any form of reluctance or questioning and grumbling, then the Lord can find in our humble lives a warm welcome and be ready to make use of us for the accomplishment of His divine will. As we call to mind His triumphal entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem today, let us also welcome Him into the home of our hearts, so that He would secure victory and peace for us in His Cross and Resurrection at the great Passover of Easter. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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