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Palm Sunday,April 17,11

Palm Sunday,April17,11

(Mt.21:1-17)

In 1980, Archbishop Romero of El Salvador in one of his sermons to his people spoke of the harvest that comes because of the grain that dies. Right after those words, as he was celebrating the mass, holding the Body of Jesus in his hands, he was shot dead by some rogue members of the military. His blood got mixed with the Body of Jesus. The Archbishop gave his life to protect the defenseless lives of his people in imitation of his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of his life was an act of love.

Today as we celebrate the Palm the Sunday, the gateway to the Holy Week, the great week celebrating the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we become reminded once again of the great sacrifice that Jesus has made out of his immense love for each one of us.

Let us recall for a moment what happened on the Palm Sunday. Fulfilling of the prophecy made by the Prophet Zechariah (Zec 9,9) that emphasizes the humility of the king who comes, Jesus rode on a donkey, indicating that he was no earthly king, but a person of peace.

(The fulfillment is composed of two distinct OT texts, Is. 62,11(“Say to the daughter of Zion”) and Zec.9,9. “The ass and the colt are the same animal in the prophecy, mentioned twice in different ways, the common Hebrew literary device of poetic parallelism. Matthew takes them as two”)

He rode into Jerusalem and the people acclaimed him with shouts of joy. Garments and branches of trees were spread on the street and people shouted “ Hosanna to the Son of David.”(Ps.118,25).(Hosanna, a Hebrew acclamation meaning “Save us”(2 Sam 14:4,Ps.118:25) and “ Blessed is he …from Ps.118:26, the last of the Hallel Ps(113-118)).

Jesus entered the temple, and as today’s Gospel describes, he cleansed it by driving out the merchants and stopping the commercial dealings that were done there .He healed many who were sick and suffering.

This was a decisive moment in his life. He knew these shouts of acclamations would disappear and they would clamor for his blood. Those branches and leaves that were spread as a red carpet to receive him would turn out to be instruments of torment. The shouts and acclamations would reverberate later as “Crucify him”, “Crucify him.” But Jesus was undeterred in his march towards the goal of his life. What mattered to Jesus was not the opinion of the people but his obedience to the will of God.

Palm Sunday is in fact the celebration of his obedience to the will of the Heavenly Father. He has told his disciples that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer(Lk.24:46). But when he is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all to himself (Jn.12.32). But it is necessary for the Son of Man to suffer and die. That is the will of the Heavenly Father. Nothing can deter him from that goal.

The suffering and death of Jesus turn everything upside down. The power of death is shattered forever. The cross, instead of becoming a sign of derision, has become a symbol of hope and joy.

The outstretched hands of Jesus on the Cross are the hands that offer us comfort and healing. We shall not allow ourselves to be distracted by the obstacles and hardships that pop up in our way. As long as Jesus is with us, we can overcome those obstacles. Whatever that looms large as imponderables before us will melt like ice when the power of His grace is present in our hearts. When He is beside us, we can sing in our hearts songs of joy because no power on earth will have any hold on our lives.

The cross is our symbol of hope and confidence. Our tragedies and our pains don’t go unanswered. They will be transformed by the power of the cross into sources of grace for us.

The cross is a constant reassurance of God’s continuing love for us. In spite of our sins and failures, God’s love reaches out to us and reminds us that it is for us that He died to give us hope. It is a reminder that we will never be abandoned.

Let this Holy Week be an occasion for us to feel that once we carry the cross of our life with him on our side, our steps will not falter and He will be there to hold us in His arms.

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