Homily for Palm Sunday - Year C - Lk. 19:28-40


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"When Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, 'Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here. If any one asks you, "Why are you untying it?" you shall say this, "The Lord has need of it." ' So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' And they said, 'The Lord has need of it.' And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it. And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road. As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.' "





Homily:


"When Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, 'Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here. If any one asks you, "Why are you untying it?" you shall say this, "The Lord has need of it." ' So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them."


It is eight days before Easter: the Resurrection of the Lord already fills us with joy! This is true of every day that God made, for no day goes by that is not a proclamation of the Resurrection: the further on we go in time, the closer the coming of the risen Jesus gets, or rather, the closer we get to the second coming of Christ at the end of time!


Why speak, today, of the coming of the Lord? Simply because this triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is the sign of his glorious return at the end of time, when the Lord of all things will enter, with all his People, into the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the great King of the Universe! Moreover, what other reason would Jesus have for entering Jerusalem in this way, a few days before being condemned and put to death by the same people who acclaimed him as King for one day?


The Jesus who triumphantly enters Jerusalem is the Jesus who wants to give to all his People a final sign, perhaps the grandest, of his Messianic character. Jesus is the Messiah, the envoy of the Father, the Great Prophet of God who proclaims to the People the promised Redemption and who realizes in himself this unique and unparalleled prophecy. The Spirit of God is upon Jesus: he has proven this through his many miracles. He wishes to provide yet another proof today.


Jesus is the Great Prophet who comes to fulfill all the ancient prophecies. In Jesus, all that is old is renewed, just as heaven and earth will be renewed at the end of time. The prophet Zechariah had proclaimed that the Messiah, the King of Jerusalem, would enter his city mounted upon the foal of an ass. Indeed, Saint Matthew writes: "This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.' " (Mt. 21:4-5)


But Jesus is not content with fulfilling ancient prophecies. He proclaims new ones. Of these new prophecies, the first is the very act he performs on this day. The second is his foretelling to his disciples all that will happen to them when they will go and get the foal that will take the Master along the road of glory and triumph in the midst of his People: "Those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them."


"And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' And they said, 'The Lord has need of it.' And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it. And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road."


No one would refuse to lend his assistance in making the triumph of Jesus complete. Thus, when the two disciples are sent out to get the foal, the owner lets them take it. The disciples themselves, animated by the Spirit of God, throw their cloaks upon the animal's back. The people who see Jesus passing by on the foal then throw their cloaks upon the ground in order to prepare it for the coming of the Great King. Truly, everyone participates in the Messiah's entry into Jerusalem!


What about us? Can we, too, not contribute to the triumph of Jesus? It is not impossible. We, who are alive today, can lend our assistance, not to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago, but rather to his glorious return at the end of time. It is not a question of doing great things. It is enough for us to believe in Jesus the Lord of the Universe, our Redeemer and our Judge, who comes to reward the good and punish the evil.


"As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!' "


The coming of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem is not something sad! It is the joy that is in all hearts, for the triumph of the Head, he who is the first among his brothers, necessarily reflects back upon all who are united to him and who, in him, are also sons of God, not by nature, but by adoption. When Christ is acclaimed and praised, the entire Church is glorified in him, for the Head and the Body are inseparable, a single and unique Mystery: that of the grace of God poured out upon the whole world for the salvation of all men!


"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" Each day, every time we participate in the Eucharist, we repeat these same words: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" After the preface, and before the Eucharistic Prayer, each time the Church celebrates the Eucharistic sacrifice, these words resound in the temple of God and call He who is about to come into his Church under the appearance of a little bread and wine, in this way preparing for his ultimate coming in unequalled glory! Let us think of this each time! Let us unite our heart and soul to all those who acclaimed Jesus on the road to Jerusalem on that day!


"And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.' "


There are always spoilsports, no matter what the occasion. In this case, it is the Pharisees who want to silence the disciples of the Lord: "Some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' " But no one can take away from the disciples of Christ, and much less from Christ himself, the joy that comes from the Spirit of God! If men try to place obstacles in the way of God's plans, the Holy Spirit can inspire the faithful in order that they might succeed in overcoming these obstacles and preserve their joy in an unshakeable faith: "He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.' "


May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who certainly did not fail to take part in the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, help us with her prayer and counsel, in order that the joy of the Spirit might always be ours!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here