HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY, YEAR C
THEME: “IN OBEDIENCE TO THE FATHER’S WILL ”
Beloved in Christ, today we celebrate Palm Sunday a day that ushers us into the events of Holy Week. We have gathered here then to re-enact what happened on that first Palm Sunday when Jesus moved from Bethany to Jerusalem.
This is to help us see the events of Holy Week of as a culmination of Jesus’ obedience to the father.
This sunday interestingly has two names: PALM SUNDAY and PASSION SUNDAY. It is in fact a sunday to rejoice and a sunday to mourn. Well, the name Palm sunday is from the fact that today commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem when the people had branches (John 12:13), while Passion sunday is because today the narrative of the passion is read.
Beloved, on this day also we sing “Hosanna, Hosanna, to the son of David “. And according to Pope Benedict XVI, ” Hosanna” originally meant an urgent supplication, like “come to our aid”. And the Priest repeated it in monotone on the 7th day of the feast of Tabernacles while processing 7times around the altar of sacrifice as an urgent prayer for rain.
However, when the feast of Tabernacles change from feast of petition into one of praise, so also the cry for help turned more and more into shout of Jubilation.
Beloved, it is worthy to note that at the time of Jesus the word “Hosanna” acquired messianic overtones and referred to the joyful praise of God. It embodied the hope that the hour of the Messiah had arrived and at the same time a prayer that the Davidic kingship, that is God’s kingship over Israel would be re established.
Beloved in Christ, the celebration of the events of Holy Week also remind us that Jesus took the position of a slave in order to save us. Humility is not humiliation but it comes from a willingness to obey God’s will no matter where it may lead us. And Jesus embraced it out of love for His Father and humanity.
Hence, for Jesus it is love that makes the pratice and demands of obedience easy and light.
Therefore, as you take these palm branches home do not keep them as amulets, for therapeutic or magical reasons but place it behind a crucifix as a sign that if we embrace the cross we will triumph-not because of our strength but because of Jesus Christ.
And finally ,to you my dear young people , today being a special day for the youth, I urge you to say “YES” to Jesus and to follow Him all the way to the end.