Palm Sunday Homily by Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga – GREAT WEEK SIXTH WEEK OF FASTING

Palm Sunday Service

From Capernaum of Galilee, the Lord Jesus Christ came close to Jerusalem for the passion, with His disciples being followed by multitudes of crowds. It was the final journey to Jerusalem, as He foresaid: Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 26:1-2.  Mk 8:31-32; 9:31; 10:33-34.  Lk 9:22; 9:44; 18:31-33.  Jn 12:24, 32; 13:21. While the three synoptic gospel writers have narrated this last journey, however, John has given us the best side of it. The passage we read today from John states clearly that, “Six days before the Jewish Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, at the home of Lazaros, the man He had raised from death (Jn 11:17). Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. There, the family of Simon the leper (Lazaros, Mary, Martha) had prepared a dinner for Christ and the disciples. At that dinner, Mary sister of Lazaros anointed Christ with expensive perfume, as a thanksgiving return for the resurrection of her beloved brother. But Judas Iscariot – the one who was going to betray Christ – complained that this was unnecessary misuse of large cash, which could be used to assist the poor!

Although Christ the Lord was aware of the evil mind operating in Judas Iscariot (v 6), at this stage He settled the question politely by saying: “Leave her alone! It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me”. (v v 7-8). Judas Iscariot did not answer to the statement of the Lord. But his mind continued functioning viciously in the same line with the evil chief priests (v 10). Onwards, from here, we can see clearly the confrontation between the worldly principalities and the process of establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Instead of a spiritual joy, because of the heavenly demonstrated power by Christ in the resurrection of Lazaros after four days, the principalities of this world began making plans to kill both Christ the Lord and Lazaros! (vv 9-11). However, the multitudes and some Jews had their mind upon the great miracles already made by Christ. Compare that part to Mt 26:6-13 and Mk 14:3-9.

“On the next day, the great multitude that had come for the feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting: Hosanna, blessed be the King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord. 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15 Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see your king is coming, seated on donkey’s colt”. These facts of the triumphant entry of Christ Jesus into Jerusalem, on His last journey, although are narrated briefly here by John, their details can be found in the synoptic Gospels, Mt 21:1-11. Mk 11:1-11. Lk 19:28-40.

Therefore, we have to receive the information from all the four Gospels, in order to understand fully what took place after the entry, all the events at Jerusalem, up to the crucifixion, death, burial and the resurrection.

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