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03/20/16 Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary for Passion (Palm) Sunday - Deacon Landry


This Feast day is called both "Palm Sunday" and "Passion Sunday." Palm Sunday refers to Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem as a king. The week preceding the Jewish Passover was a time when Jews from far and wide would make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The hope for the Messianic liberator was at its peak. Jesus' miracles and authoritative teaching were well known. The news of his even raising Lazarus from the dead was widely known. When word spread that Jesus was approaching, the multitudes rushed to greet their Messiah. It is understandable, therefore, to witness these multitudes flocking to Jesus to hail him as the long-awaited Messiah.

The crowd greeted him with a royal victory celebration, taking branches of palm trees to meet him, which was a common way of celebrating the victory of a great king. The people also laid garments before him, the equivalent of "rolling out the red carpet". Clearly they were preparing the way for their king.

In stark contrast to these readings we also hear the Passion narrative on this Sunday. In a striking prayer, the Son of God petitions the Father to be spared of this ignominious death: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me..." However, here we witness one of the most awesome characteristics of the King of kings—unconditional surrender to the will of the Father. In a gesture of total obedience Jesus declares,  "...still, not my will but yours be done."

From Philippians we hear that the Savior of the World "...humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." In the juxtaposition of the two narratives that are proclaimed on this special Sunday, we are dramatically reminded of the example of the King who came to serve, not to be served. No sacrifice was too great for the Savior of the World to endure for the sake of mankind. Jesus Christ, Son of God, is the exemplar extraordinaire of humble obedience.


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