Homily 04 09 2017
The Church celebrates this sixth Sunday of Lent as both Palm Sunday and
Passion Sunday. This is the time of year we stop to remember and relive
the events which brought about our redemption and salvation.
What we commemorate and relive during this week is not just Jesus’ dying and rising, but our own dying and rising in Him, which will result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption.
Attentive participation in the Holy Week liturgy will deepen our relationship with God, increase our Faith and strengthen our lives as disciples of Jesus. Today’s liturgy combines contrasting moments, one of glory, the other of suffering: the royal welcome of Jesus in Jerusalem and the drama of His trial, culminating in His crucifixion, death and burial.
An interesting as well as challenging old fable tells of the colt that carried Jesus on Palm Sunday.
The colt thought that the reception was organized to honor him. “I am a unique donkey!” this excited animal might have thought.
When he asked his mother if he could walk down the same street alone the next day and be honored again, his mother said, “No, you are nothing without Him who was riding you."
Five days later, the colt saw a huge crowd of people in the street. It was Good Friday, and the soldiers were taking Jesus to Calvary. The colt could not resist the temptation of another royal reception. Ignoring the warning of his mother, he ran to the street, but he had to flee for his life as soldiers chased him and people stoned him.
Thus, the colt finally learned the lesson that he was only a poor donkey without Jesus to ride on him.
As we enter Holy Week, today’s readings challenge us to examine our lives to see whether we carry Jesus within us and bear witness to Him through our living or whether we are Christians in name only.
The turmoil of Palm Sunday points to the deeper mystery of Jesus’ identity and leaves us asking, “Who is this?” He is not sweet baby Jesus of Christmas card fame. He is not our buddy and our pal. He is not our copilot. He is the man of turmoil. His turmoil is life-giving and God-revealing. The turmoil he brings calls our life into alignment with God’s life.
His entry into Jerusalem inaugurates a Holy Week of turmoil; realigning our relationships and teaching us the intimacy of washing feet, calling us to die before death comes, and breaking open our lives in ways we never expected or thought possible.
The turmoil Jesus brings is the chaos out of which new life will be born on Easter Sunday.