My Dear fellow Christians! Believe that it is happening. TODAY!!!
If Jerusalem was the religious, social and political centre of the people who claimed to be the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of those whom God led out of the Egyptian slavery, the time of the Passover feast was the height of the year in the Holy City. It is estimated that Jerusalem had 100 thousand inhabitants however more than a million people would flock to the city for the Passover. There was no vacant spot in and around the city. Definitely the Passover festivities were not a silent retreat. What we are recalling and sacramentally celebrating on this Palm Sunday is the entry of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ to the hustle and bustle of the Holy City. The enthusiastic crowd waving their palms and singing: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ gives us a glimpse to the thrill filling the city.
For years as we have been coming, as communities of believers, to begin the Holy Week we were putting ourselves in the shoes of those people who welcomed the Lord Jesus waving their branches of palms. We too, for years have been gathering at the outset of the Holy Week carrying our branches of palms.
This Palm Sunday is different…
We are dispersed. We cannot be a crowd. Do we need to hang our heads in resignation? Do we need to lower our palms in defeat?
My fellow believers! Indeed we cannot be a crowd this year! We must be the BODY OF CHRIST this year!
When we meditate on the mystery of this day we discover that there was the triumphant crowd and Jesus ‘our king… humble and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.’ It looks like two different worlds, paralleled worlds. The noisy world watching the world of God in the person of the Son of God. Five days later, as we heard in the long Passion Narrative proclaimed TODAY, the noisy crowd mocked the Crucified Lord. Again, two worlds, paralleled worlds. Where are we today?
It is obvious that this year we don’t resemble that crowd with palms. This year we are marked by death, suffering, illness, isolation, fear, doubt, uncertainty, etc. This is what we, the disciples of Jesus, share with the rest of the human family. However the pandemic which has halted the hustle and bustle of our country, as well as other countries, has put us in the shoes of Jesus. St Paul in the second reading wrote about Jesus: ‘His state was divine, yet Christ did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave and became as men are.’ Today we have become like men are too sharing in the tragedy of the pandemic. However there is another TODAY. It is TODAY of Jesus Christ. It is TODAY of him who is entering our world right now to suffer, to die and to be risen to new life. He is going to accomplish it not abstractly but concretely: in us – his Body in order to save the women and men of our era. That’s why we cannot be observers like the crowd from the Gospel. In the midst of the pandemic, like the great Prophet Isaiah, we are called to accept that the Lord has woken us to hear, to listen like disciples.
If you are ill, if you are suffering you are in the shoes of Jesus Christ who suffered then and in you is suffering now for the salvation of the human family. You are not in a crowd. You are a member of his BODY, TODAY.
If you are going through isolation, fear, doubt, uncertainty you are in the shoes of Jesus Christ who went through all this then and in you is going through this now for the salvation of the human family. You are not in a crowd. You are a member of his BODY, TODAY.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ! Few of us will hear this week the words ‘The Body of Christ” however let me proclaim to you what the great St Augustin used to say to his fellow believers when they were coming to receive Holy Communion: ‘You are the Body of Christ. Receive who you are.’
TODAY we must be the BODY OF CHRIST. So let us lift up our heads and let us put up our palms because TODAY in us Jesus is entering into the Holy City which is this world of women and men in need of salvation.