PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF OUR LORD
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 4 April 2004
"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord" (Lk 19: 38).With these words, the population of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus at his entry into the holy city, acclaiming him as King of Israel. Yet a few days later, the same crowd was to reject him with hostile cries: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Lk 23: 21). The Palm Sunday liturgy helps us relive these two moments of the last week in Jesus' earthly life. It plunges us into that fickle crowd which in a few days veered from joyful enthusiasm to murderous contempt.
Before the multitudes who had gathered to listen to him, Christ proclaimed: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32). Here, then, is his answer: all who seek the Son of man will see him in the Feast of Easter as a true Lamb, sacrificed for the world's salvation.
On the Cross, Jesus died for each one of us. The Cross, therefore, is the greatest and most eloquent sign of his merciful love, the one sign of salvation for every generation and for all humanity.
Of course, the message that the Cross communicates is not easy to understand in our day and age in which material well-being and conveniences are offered and sought as priority values…. do not be afraid to proclaim the Gospel of the Cross in every circumstance. Do not be afraid to swim against the tide!
"Christ Jesus... humbled himself and became obedient unto death... on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him..." (Phil 2: 6, 8-9). The wonderful hymn in the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians has just reminded us that the Cross has two inseparable dimensions: it is at the same time both sorrowful and glorious. The suffering and humiliation of Jesus' death are closely connected with the exaltation and glory of his Resurrection.
The passion and Resurrection of Christ constitute the core of our faith and our support in the inevitable daily trials.May Mary, the Sorrowful Virgin and silent witness of the joy of the Resurrection, help you to follow the crucified Christ and to discover in the mystery of the Cross the full meaning of life.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
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