Homily For Palm Sunday, Year B

Honoring and Expressing our Solidarity with Christ

Rdgs: (1st: Is 50, 4-7; Ps 21, 8-9, 19-20; 2nd: Phil 2, 6-11: Gos: Mk 14, 1-15, 47)

           This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is a unique Sunday in Lent because it marks the beginning of the Holy Week and the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ the son of God and our Lord. Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem the royal city. It was necessary for Christ to go to Jerusalem because he is truly both the king of heaven and earth. So, his entry into the royal city is highly symbolic to fulfill what the prophets long foretold “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this…” (Isaiah 9, 7).

Both the first and second readings of this Sunday are on the suffering and humility of Christ the son of God and our savior. The first reading from Isaiah presents us with the song of the suffering servant of God. While through his letter to the Philippians, Paul also reminds us that: “His state was divine, yet Christ did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are, he was humble even to accepting death on a cross.” Humbly, the servant of God accepted all his maltreatments in order to save us. He presented and lost his life in order to win us our lives. What do we learn from Christ in these readings? The most important is that we need much patience and humility to survive and succeed in life. Also, the readings teach us that suffering is part of life rather than a curse. However, only those who are ready to persist and endure to the end will triumph. Also, it teaches us that if we persist in our faith in God and his son Jesus Christ, they will help us carry out all that we need to do without losing our faith.

The celebration of this Sunday is full of symbols as the passion narrative according to Mark presents it. Some of the most important symbols today include the palms, the donkey, and the crowd or people etcetera. The Palms represent the royalty of Christ and his peaceful reign; the donkey is a symbol of the humility of Christ the king as our first and second readings presented him. Though he is king yet, he chose to ride on the lowliest and weakest of animals, the donkey. This is contrary to what we see today in our world, where our rulers and leaders live in the best conditions while their people live in poverty. By this act, Christ not only demonstrates his humility, but also demonstrates his solidarity with the poor and the weak. It is therefore not surprising why people also came out to honor and show solidarity to Him as he enters Jerusalem today.

Therefore, our procession today is for two reasons. The first is to honor Christ the king as he enters the royal city to assume his throne. This is why we sing: “Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to the son of David, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The second reason is, in order to express our solidarity with Christ as he begins His most difficult journey that will ultimately bring us salvation. So, as we sing hosanna today, we must ask God for the grace to remain faithful to him till the end. However, the sad news is that many of those who sing  hosanna today might be the same people to soon shout “crucify him, crucify him” on Good Friday. These episodes simply reflect the way we live our lives most times. They also reflect how unfaithful we can be at times in our relationship with Christ. Today we are for Christ, tomorrow we are against him. Christ is our friend when we are in difficulty, but our enemy when things are working well for us. It also shows how we relate with one another. Today we are friends and tomorrow we are arch enemies. Brothers and sisters, we can do better if only we can learn humility and patience from Christ the son of David that we honor today. We can do better if only we are ready to offer all for the good of our neighbours as Christ is about to do this week for our good. It is important therefore, that we ask God for the grace to remain steadfast to him and to our brothers and sisters at all moments of our lives. As we show solidarity to Christ today, let us also extend it to others. This is because in others there is both Christ the humble king, and Christ the suffering servant of God. This is also because this is the most practical way of expressing our solidarity with Christ.

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!!

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