Homily for Palm Sunday - Year B - Mk. 11:1-10
Father Daniel Meynen
" When they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, and said to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it. If any one says to you, "Why are you doing this?" say, "The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately."' And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And those who stood there said to them, 'What are you doing, untying the colt?' And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!' "
Today's Mass has two gospels: that which we read before the procession, and that of the Passion of the Lord. This homily will allow us to understand a little the relation between these two texts of Holy Scripture.
" When they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples... "
Saint Mark tells us how Jesus organized his entry into Jerusalem, a few days before Passover. It is Jesus who directs and orders the preparations, he foresees everything, he knows what must be done, for he knows what his Father wants: he knows what awaits him in Jerusalem, both good and evil, in order that the glory of his Father might be manifested to all Creation. Jesus commands, for he is our Head: he is the head of the body, the Church, as Saint Paul affirms (Col. 1:18).
At the same time as he is our Head, Jesus - who is the first of a multitude of brothers, that is to say the first in that Mystical Body that is the Church - is our model, he whom we must imitate at all cost in order to be saved in him. Now Jesus comes to Jerusalem, not only to be glorified there, but also, and first, to be humiliated there, to die in the ignominy of the Cross, to obey - he who is the Head - the Order of his Father. Saint Paul has told us this: "Being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Ph. 2:7-8)
" And those who stood there said to them, 'What are you doing, untying the colt?' And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. "
This is the fruit of obedience to the Lord: participation in his sovereign and universal power. He who sincerely obeys the order of the Lord fears nothing and no one: the Lord is with him, for he belongs to the Lord. But what is it to obey the Lord, if not to believe in what he says, to believe and to make one's own the command, and thus the very word, of the Lord. As in supernatural obedience there is always something that we do not understand, we are obliged to believe supernaturally in the order we are given. We cannot obey supernaturally without bringing into play the supernatural virtue of faith. We then belong to those who sincerely practice "the obedience of faith" (Rm. 1:5).
It is then that all of Creation itself is glorified with Christ, through Him, and in Him! When all is subject to God in Christ, the glory of God and his incomparable omnipotence are shared by the creature, which is, then, lifted up to the divinity itself! Thus will a colt serve the glory of God, and the garments woven and sewn by human hands, as well as the grasses and plants of the field that God created, will become instruments of the glory of God! "They brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields." It is true that this would last only for a time, the time necessary to get to Jerusalem and its Temple, but this episode of Palm Sunday is already a pale foreshadowing of what would be the glory of God manifested in all things at the final Resurrection of the just in Christ.
" And those who went before and those who followed cried out, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!' "
Jesus is acclaimed by the multitude of Jews present at Jerusalem. They welcomed him, saying: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The divinity of the Lord is proclaimed by all in a clear and manifest manner: Jesus is he who comes in the name of the Lord, he is the long-awaited Messiah! Moreover, Saint Matthew reports the following words of the multitude: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Mt. 21:9)
But how many of these Jews would remain faithful to the Jesus who, five days later, would be nailed to a cross between two brigands? How many would then cry: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Mk. 15:13-14) There is a lesson here for us! If the creature wants to be glorified with the Creator, it must remain humble and vigilant, for the omnipotence in which it participates has not become its own: God alone remains almighty in Heaven and on earth!
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" This is what we shall soon say and sing, just before the consecration, just before this new coming of Christ into his Church. Let us be attentive to what we will be saying: let our spirit be in concord with our voice. Thus we shall be capable of manifesting and proclaiming the glory of God with all of our being: with both our soul and our body. May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who surely was present at the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, assist us and help us to welcome the Lord into all our life!
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