HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY


“THE ROBE” was a major Biblical film made in 1953 about the crucifixion of Jesus.. A Roman tribune named Marcellus was in charge of the unit of soldiers given the task of putting Jesus to death. Remember the Gospels say that the soldiers cast lots for the robe Jesus wore? According to the film, Marcellus won the robe. He had no religious beliefs but his slave DEMITRIUS had and he took the robe.

The films shows Marcellus and Demitrius arriving in Jesusalem at the very time Jesus was arriving on Palm Sunday.

The film never shows Jesus. All you see are the crowds lining the away, the dust, the colour. You hear the noise, the music, the shout of welcome of the people. And you see all this through the eyes of Demitrius. His eyes follow the scene- completely focused on Jesus as the procession came closer and then in front of him…never taking his eyes off this man who has captivated him. This silent, wordless meeting with Jesus changed his life. Like Pope Francis wrote: ‘THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL FILLS THE LIVES AND HEARTS OF THOSE WHO HAVE MET JESUS’. Demitrius is a fine example for us of latching onto Jesus in times of silence or of making Him the focus of our attention in the midst of busyness and bustle.

The most obvious aspect of Palm Sunday must surely be the fickleness of human nature. Jesus is hailed as a hero in the streets of the city on Sunday. A few short days later the same crowds were demanding His death. For three years they had witnessed or heard of his extraordinary work on behalf of ordinary people- themselves. They freely admitted that “He went around doing good”; that “no one spoke as He did”. He healed them; He fed them. Six days later He could well have said -“Eaten bread is soon forgotten!”.

We often forget the humanity of Jesus. Scriptures deliberately reminds us that “He was like us in all things but sin”. How hurt He must have felt- from the adulation of Palm Sunday to the rejection of Good Friday.

How often have we played our part in this scenario- the Palm Sundays of our lives when we are “all over Him”so to speak; and the Good Fridays in our lives when we reject Him. He is the same Jesus no matter whatever the year or wherever we fail Him.

In between those two days comes Holy Thursday, when He gave us the power to resist rejecting Him at every hands turn.

His gift of Himself in the Eucharist is our constant support in times of personal struggle. Charlie Landsborough sings of his “forever friend”- simple, powerful, encouraging lines- ‘EVEN WHEN I TURN AWAY HE CARES FOR ME…HE IS BY MY SIDE…SOMETIMES I’M NOT HIS FRIEND, BUT HE IS ALWAYS MINE”.

All through Holy Week, Jesus continues to show the extent of His love by giving Himself to us in the Eucharist on Holy Thursday and by giving Himself for us on the Cross on Good Friday.

Our response to that love must mirror His example at the Last Supper: He PRAYED with His friends and He WASHED their feet.

WORSHIP OF GOD with our neighbours within the Church and SERVICE to our neighbours within the community.

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