Bishop Banda’s Homily, Palm Sunday, Year B

Today, we celebrate the Triumph Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. With this
celebration we begin the Holy week, in which we are invited to reflect deeply on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our procession with Palms at the beginning of the Eucharist is an image of our interior journey towards our inner most selves. It is meant to touch the depth and the height of our being – to understand who we are before God, and what God has in store for us.

We are setting out on a journey along the high road that leads us to the living God. The high roads of our personal lives with our heights and depths [i.e. our joys and sorrows, our humility and our pride, our grace and our sin, our merit and our weakness]. This is the
procession, the journey, the pilgrimage we are making with all that we are.

Palms as it were are a sign of our welcoming of Jesus into the areas of our lives where we live and practice our faith. The strong and spiky palm branches remind us of the need to
be firm and strong in our faith. Just as Jesus remained firm and strong in His faith despite His affliction. He suffered and died, but rose again and He became the first fruits of the Resurrection.

The blessing and waving of the palm branches at the beginning of the Eucharist moved onto the suffering and death of Jesus. This movement underscores the irony of life.
Almost always: happiness will give way to sadness, our physical wellbeing will give way to poor health, and our glory will give way to agony. What we are so certain and sure about will be put to the test – our promises, our faithfulness, our courage, our commitment. All that will be put to the test and may be found wanting and lacking.

However, if we remain firm, focused and strong in faith; we shall rise above our challenges. God will vindicate us despite all odds and at His own time. God’s time is the best. The crowds firstly hailed Jesus with “Hosanna in the highest”. Thereafter they demanded
“Crucify Him!” That’s the irony of mankind. However, vindication comes at the end from an unexpected person: a centurion and a pagan. He revealed Jesus’ real identity: “In truth this man was the son of God”. As we journey through life with its inconsistencies,
may we hold onto this revelation – Jesus is the Son of God.

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