Homily – Palm Sunday

My friends, today, as I said in  the bulletin for this week, brings us to the start of the “holiest” of weeks in our Church Year.  Unlike Christmastime, which serves as the “happiest” time in our Church Year, because somehow, most, if not all manage to, for a few days—at least, open up their, for whatever reason, closed hearts and do and perhaps say what is within them, somewhere, but goes unsaid and undone for most of the year.  We call this, LOVE, and how we feel is often expressed best, through the eyes of children. 

   But Holy Week calls us to something else, to perhaps, “adulthood” in our faith—and perhaps this is why many of us shy away from its rigors—it commitments, calling us toward being our best—commitments we said our personal “yeses” to at our confirmations.  Responding to these commitments throughout our lives, is, let’s face it, not always easy—in fact, seldom easy. 

   If we reflect on the Scriptures for today, we see the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The people shouted, “Blessed is the One who comes…Hosanna to the Son of David[!]” The joy of this day in Jesus’ ministry falls apart, as we know, at least in human reaction by week’s end, culminating in his physical death on Good Friday.  And if we were to stop there, we would be truly looking at a very sad week. 

   But our faith tells us that death is not the end—for Jesus, or for us—new life follows on Easter in a way that we can’t truly understand through our humanity, but only through our faith. 

   I am one for whom, “hope springs eternal,” as I believe many of you are as well.  The sadness that is part of this week in the life of our brother Jesus is a forerunner for our lives walking in his footsteps. The drama unfolded during this holiest of weeks, is not just about Jesus’ life, but about ours too. If his precious story is simply “words on a page” with no connection to our own lives, then we would have missed the significance of these events. Jesus came to show us how to live our lives and when the hard times especially, come, we are invited to ask Jesus to walk with us and help us to live these moments well. That is why many Christians, like my friend Bede Baldry offer modern-day Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, as happened last year and will be again this year. Modern day stations allow us to see that Jesus’ sufferings continue in our day and call us to do what we can to eliminate that suffering.

   These past 40 days have found many of you carrying your own personal crosses, through responding to sudden illness in yourselves or a family member, caring for a needy loved one, coming to terms with life-changing events within your families, and through death.  The new life that Easter brings can be ours as it was for Jesus through our faith.

   Our faith calls us to keep our eyes on Easter, at the end of sometimes, very long, dark, tunnels. We in our All Are One community have been companions for all who are hurting of late as we know they will be there for us when our time comes. 

   The beautiful Philippians’ reading about Jesus today indeed shows us the way—it is not about power, fame, who we know, but about being a servant. And so as to not be misunderstood, I am not only speaking about, “caring for others,” but about keeping ourselves in the equation too—balance, in other words.

   Isaiah, in today’s 1st reading, gives us, “the way to go” as it were and I paraphrase, “God has given us ears to hear, and voices to speak.  He does not promise that we won’t be put down or humiliated, but that God will be with us. 

   Our strength can really be taken from Jesus’ example who prayed to the God that he knew loved him, “if it is possible, let this cup pass me by…”

   So my friends, that tells me that our faith in God and our attempts to do what is right, don’t always have to look perfect.  The passion today tells us that Jesus, “relied on God,” and so should we.

   And because you have already been here for longer than usual, I want to end now with some rather prophetic words from the author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who when speaking of the tough times of COVID 19 in its beginnings said, “We are exactly the leaders that we have been waiting for—we were made for these times!”

   And when you think about it, this was our brother Jesus’ entire message to us throughout his life—he wanted us to know too that we have within us all that is needed to make our world the place God intended for us. Perhaps that is the Easter message! Amen? Amen!