YEAR C: HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: MYSTERIES OF OUR SALVATION
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: The Lenten journey has been very graceful and fruitful through our practice of the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through this period, we have realised our nothingness and weakness on the one hand but most especially also on the other hand of God’s magnanimous and boundless mercy. The greatest act of God’s graciousness and mercy towards us is in His gift of His Only Son to us, Who through His passion, death and resurrection has reconciled us with God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, formed out of us a noble and priestly people and raised us to the dignity of being truly sons and daughters of God and heirs of God’s promises. May our celebration of these mysteries bring us to grow stronger and deeper in grace; Amen.
With the liturgy of today, we begin the celebrations of the Holy Week. This week is called holy because in it we celebrate the deepest aspects of the mysteries of our salvation; the mysteries of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. These mysteries will gradually unfold in the celebrations of the days to come, especially in the Paschal Triduum constituted of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The whole season of Lent is arranged to lead us to this very climax of our spiritual journey. Very unique in the Liturgy of today is the blessing of palm leaves and carrying them in our hands in procession because of which today is called Palm Sunday. Also striking is the reading of the Passion Narrative taken this year from Saint Luke’s Gospel (Luke 22:14-23:56), which introduces us to the key moments of the celebrations to be held in the few days to come; for which also today is called “Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.” With the palm leaves we carry in our hands, we commemorate the solemn entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, which we read in the Gospel (Luke 19:28-40) of the first part of today’s liturgy, for the purpose of His suffering and death for our salvation. With these palm leaves also, we show our readiness to walk with our Lord Jesus Christ on this path, not like the crowd who abandoned Him immediately when they saw troubles coming, but like faithful followers who are ready to share in his suffering and death so that we may share also in the glory of the resurrection at the vigil of Easter. All of these mysteries constitute the Church’s spiritual strong-room and the Church’s fountain of grace for all of her liturgical celebrations. The truth of the story of our Lord Jesus Christ is the fact that in the humility of the Cross is our victory (Phil 2:6-11); the same victory through which our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us. The same victory that leads us to profess with the certainty of faith in our times of troubles “the Lord comes to my help, so that i am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed” (Is 50:4-7).
In the readings we heard today, we came in contact with many persons in the different scenes. Every one of the persons we heard is a very good material for personal reflection. In this personal journey within our inner selves, one could imagine; who would you become if this whole scenario is to be replayed in our midst? If everything depends on how we live our lives, on our choices and how we have prepared ourselves through this season of Lent what would our positions be? The Jews? The Pharisees? One of the disciples? The Crowd? Etc. This is an important self-probe that will help us realize the level of the progress we are making in the spiritual life and to recognise who we truly are. Otherwise, what would be the value of these celebrations if they do not challenge us daily to become better persons? What would be the value of all of these celebrations if they do not bring us to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ who gave up His glory in humility and took on our human condition that He may liberate us to share in the glory that is His from time immemorial? The essence of these mysteries is never to lead us to mystify ourselves, but rather to help us become simple and to strengthen us to change the world for good with the simplicity of our lives and actions.
We pray that through the mysteries of our faith that will be celebrated this week, we may become better and simple human beings, better and simple Christians and better and simple citizens so that we can help to build a better and simple world; Amen.
Happy Palm Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE