YEAR A: HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY (4)


YEAR A: HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY

HOMILY THEME: MAY THIS WEEK BE HOLY

BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU

 

HOMILY: READINGS: ISAIAH 50:4-7, PSALM 22, PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11, MATTHEW 26:14-27:66

✓Celebrating the servant king’s entry into Jerusalem to journey towards man’s salvation.
✓Commemorating the humble king’s saving journey towards the holy city.
✓Marking the God-man’s solidarity endeavour; man’s redemption.
✓May our humble, servant, Divine and human king save us from the perils of now (Coronavirus).

According to the Gospels, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and the people laid cloaks, small branches of trees in front of him singing part of Psalm 118:25-26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord… Christian theologians believe that the symbolism is captured prophetically in Zachariah 9:9 “The coming of Zion’s king – see, your king comes to you riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem angered the Sanhedrin because going by Old Testament prophecy, he was declaring himself king over Israel. They’d go on to kill him, but only in fulfillment of God’s saving plan for humanity.

As a man of peace, he chose to ride on a donkey, symbolic of the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace. He who Paul says in Philippians 2:6ff was and still is God but didn’t count equality with his Father; rather, he became a servant and took the way of the cross; from the very beginning chose the lowly path. This path would later earn him an exalted place and posterity will remember him forever. His servitude is described by the second Isaiah 50:4-7 as the suffering servant, the Messiah, who’d accept in silent obedience the role of suffering designated for him by his Father. Beloved friends in the Lord, the sufferings and subsequent death of Christ in his humanity are a source of strength for all Christians.

The truly Christian looks at Jesus as his/her brother, truly God but truly man too. He looks at him as one who endured pain and even prayed God to take the cup of suffering away (Lk. 22:42). Also, he/she looks at Jesus remembering how he cried about 3pm in the afternoon of his plight-moment ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’ (Matt. 27:46). We must learn to see his humanity and how he conquered suffering, faced his plight and bravely undertook it to save man. We therefore ought to walk in his path, a path of peace, one of humility; a path of absolute self-giving; one of sacrifice, service for the ‘other’ etc. For the Supreme Pontiff, Jesus comes to save us and we are not to follow ‘our way,’ but choose His, namely “the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves.” “Let us walk this path,” the Pope encouraged.

Let us turn our faces to him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of his suffering for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week. Jesus emptied himself, he did not cling to the glory that was his as the Son of God, but became the Son of Man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet He was without sin. Jesus lived in the condition “not of a king or a prince”, but “of a servant”, one who in utmost humility, and resisting temptation, forgives those who are crucifying Him. What a way we are called to follow.

If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through Him as shown in his passion is infinite; stressing how Jesus’ self sacrifice brought: Light to Darkness, Life to Death and Love to Hatred. May we journey with him this Holy Week and reap the fruits of the resurrection. Amen.

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