Homily for  Palm Sunday ( Passion Sunday) Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

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Homily for  Palm Sunday ( Passion Sunday) Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22
Second Reading: Philippians
Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47

Theme: Hosanna or Crucify Him? It’s Your Choice


All too soon we are bringing the Lenten season to a close. Today the Church begins Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday. It is called Palm Sunday because at the beginning of the Mass, there is the blessing of the palm branches where the entire congregation join in one chorus song of Hosanna ushering Jesus into Jerusalem for his suffering, death and resurrection. And today is also known as the Passion Sunday because there is the long gospel narrative of the suffering and death of Jesus. But in all these incidents we want to reflect on the role of the crowd; thus we’ve chosen for our theme: Hosanna or Crucify Him? It’s your choice.

Explanation of the text

Our first reading taken from the book of the Prophet Isaiah talks about the message of the suffering Servant who didn’t offer resistance to his prosecutors and those deriding him. Like a lamb being led to a slaughter house, he humbly submitted and yet placed his trust in God. The fulfilment of this Prophetic Oracle is seen in the events unfolding in Jesus’ Triumphant entering into Jerusalem which will culminate in his suffering, death and resurrection.

Today, Jesus enters Jerusalem as a King and uncharacteristic of King he chose to ride a donkey and not horse. Jesus rode a donkey, a symbol of meekness and peace. The horse stands for war; that’s what the people wanted. They yearned for a leader who would set them free from the yoke of the Romans.

As Jesus enters Jerusalem, the exuberant and impetuous crowd of common people on the Mount of Olives shouted, “Hosanna”, meaning, “let even the angels in the highest heights of heaven cry unto God, save now!” (Matt 21:9). In that shouting crowd were persons who owed Him gratitude for their restored sight, straight limbs, clear sane reasoning, and healed bodies; even one named Lazarus, his life restored from the grave. We, like them, are also indebted to Jesus. We therefore join the crowd in praise of Him.

Jesus descended from the Mount of Olives into the Kedron valley and started His approach through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem. It would be there that He would later encounter the hostile crowd intent on appeasing the Romans, requested for a notorious armed robber Barabbas in exchange of Jesus and shouting “Crucify Him”!

With which crowd do you identify? I don’t mean which in your more spiritual moments do you profess to identify with? In reality with which crowd does your lifestyle more closely identify. Do you daily put Him to an open shame or is your lifestyle a praise of Him, resulting in people praising Him?

The Gospel of Mark makes an interesting observation regarding Christ’s immediate followers: “Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid…” ( Mark 10:32). When Jesus goes before you there is no need to be afraid.

They were not intimidated by their fear, they followed. Courage isn’t not having any fear. It is doing what you know is right in spite of your fear. Is fear in any form holding you back in your response to Christ? If so, show faith in Him and express courage by reacting with the crowd that shouted “Hosanna”. Let your choice everyday be guided by your faith and not your fear.




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