My dear Sisters and Brothers!
The Mount of Olives is what separates the city of Jerusalem from the Wilderness, from the desert. So walking from the Dead Sea you proceed westward across the desert and when you can see Jerusalem it means that you are standing on the top of the Mount of Olives. Then you start walking down the slope to get to the heart of the city where the Solomon Temple used to be. When you go to Jerusalem one day and if you like watching the sunrise I can give you a little tip to save you from looking for the east. Look at the Mount of Olives. In Jerusalem the Sun rises above the Mount of Olives. But the significance of the Mount of Olives isn’t because of the Sun but its significance comes from the old prophesies that the awaited Messiah will come from the east. That’s what Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist expressed when he prayed after the birth of his son: “The rising sun will visit us.” The Messiah is the rising sun. Every day the sun rises above Mount of Olives to begin a new day for Jerusalem but two thousand years ago there was a sunrise different to others. It is when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey. As he was climbing the top of the Mount of Olives from the Wilderness those who were in the city could see him appearing there like the sun does every day.
For us a sunrise means a new day, new opportunities, and new chances. What we celebrate on Palm Sunday is like a sunrise, Jesus - our rising star, appears bringing with him his grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to begin a new era. That’s why the Holy Week we are beginning is a strange week. Usually a week starts with Sunday and goes through to Saturday, seven days. The Holy Week begins today but it finishes on Holy Thursday before the Mass of the Last Supper. Only 5 days. Then we have Paschal Triduum, three days of Jesus death and Resurrection. Three days but they make one celebration. Pay attention that on Holy Thursday we will begin the Mass like always with the sign of the cross but the final blessing will be given after the Easter Vigil. One celebrations over three days. It is the expression of our faith in Christ.
Look, our life here on earth is influenced by the rhythm of sunrises and sunsets. It is subjected to passing days, weeks, months and years. However as Christians, as those who believe in Christ, we profess that our life is more influenced by what he has done for us by his death and Resurrection. We are subjected to the rhythm of days and nights but Christ makes a bigger influence on us. Our commitment and dedication to him is stronger that our subjections to daily sunrises and sunsets.
As I said at the beginning the Mount of Olives isn’t very high so its name could be challenged as a mountain. However today it is hard to get how olives got to its name. There are no many olives these days on the Mount of Olives. Today it is like a huge cemetery. Thousands and thousands graves cover the slopes of the hill. Why? Because the belief that the Messiah will come from the east is still strong among Jews. They believe that those who are buried on the Mount of Olives will be the first to rise in order to follow the Saviour.
Brothers and Sisters! Our faith is different. We are not waiting, we are living in the brightens of his light.