Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Palm Sunday ABC:Procession Reflections- Fr. Michael U.Udoekpo

Palm Sunday: Procession Readings and Reflections Year ABC (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10 and Luke 19:28-40) by Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Christ’s Humble Entrance into Jerusalem,

Every year the Church celebrates Palm Sunday which ends the Lenten Season and marks the beginning of the most Holy week in our Christian Liturgy.  It is a week our savior will be exalted on the Cross. It is a week of that hour of glory come to fulfillment. This week Christ, our Lord and Savior will be betrayed, falsely accused, plotted against (John 11:45-53), arrested (Matt 26:47-56), interrogated by Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin ( Matt 26:57-58), tried by Pilate ( Matt 27:1-14), denied by Peter( Matt 26:59-66), mocked and executed in a Roman way ( Matt 27:15-56).  It is a week Christ will draw all people to himself, Jews and the Gentiles, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. It is a Holy and Salvific Week for us; a week of grace; a week of victory over death, victory over injustice, lies and hatred; a week we see new life in the death of Christ.
It is a week we also learn to resist evil not with violence but with prayer, endurance and through peaceful process of dialogue and reconciliation. A week we learn not to act like Pilate,  remaining indifferent to truth nor being in a hurry to condemn our neighbors, brothers and sisters, friends and children. It is a week each of us is invited to the foot of the Cross, a week Mary will be handed over to us the faithful Disciples of Christ ( John 19:25ff).

Usually before the principal Mass our palms which will be turned into ashes  for“renewal” next year are blessed. A moment from now we shall reenact the Gospel story we have just heard from Matthew 21:1-11. Like those ordinary people, those pilgrims in the street of Jerusalem (those men, women and children) who gave Christ a royal welcome to Jerusalem for his paschal mystery we are also prepared in our pilgrimage  to embrace Christ with enthusiasm, to welcome him into our lives in the Eucharist we are about to celebrate today. Through the  “Hosanna” (Psalm 118:26; Mk 11:1-10 and Luke 19:28-40) we sing we shall be inviting Christ, Son of David, the King of Israel to “save” us, to come into our lives, into our homes, offices, parish communities and families.

Again from that Gospel (s) Reading (s),He is a humble King, a King of Peace, riding on a donkey instead of a horse. Remember at the time of David and Prophet Zechariah (cf 9:9) the donkey had been a sign of kingship, but later an animal for the poor, while the horses came to represent the might of the mighty. Christ today presents us the image of a King of peace arriving Jerusalem on a donkey not on a bullet and nuclear proof Presidential Limousine. Christ reminds us today of his fearlessness and courage to conquer death even death on a cross. He is a humble King of peace and a King for those who are spiritually and materially poor.
Let us now with enthusiasm go forth in peace, praising Jesus our Messiah, and welcoming him like the Jerusalem multitude!