The Happy Priest: Palm Sunday and the Humility of Jesus
His humble entrance into Jerusalem clearly illustrates that God is humble.
On Palm Sunday, we come face to face with Jesus - and how we are to live our lives each day. When we embrace Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, we are faced with the reality that Jesus encompasses our entire being. Christianity is a way of life. Jesus wants to send his Spirit through every door and window of our soul.
Jesus Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
Christianity is essentially different. When we embrace Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, we are faced with the reality that Jesus encompasses our entire being. Christianity is a way of life. Jesus wants to send his Spirit through every door and window of our soul.
Pope John Paul II once wrote: "It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments and a truth to be lived out. A word, in any event, is not truly received until it is put into practice."
"Faith is a decision involving one's whole existence. It is an encounter, a dialogue, a communion of love and of life between the believer and Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life. It entails an act of trusting abandonment to Christ, which enables us to live as he lived, in profound love of God and of our brothers and sisters" (Veritatis Splendor, 88).
On Palm Sunday, we come face to face with Jesus. Thus, we come face to face with the reality of how we are to live our lives each day.
Jesus, the Savior of the world and the king of the universe was born in the humility of Bethlehem. All throughout the Gospels he taught his apostles and disciples the importance of humility.
His followers had already heard his piercing words: "blessed are the meek" and "blessed are the peacemakers." But, he continued to affirm the importance of the virtue of humility when he held a child and said: "unless you become like a child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God." The Apostles continued to struggle with pride and Jesus continued to teach its importance. "Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave."
When the first Palm Sunday took place, Jesus, the king of heaven and earth, once again gave a lesson of humility. He entered into Jerusalem riding upon a donkey.
His humble entrance into Jerusalem clearly illustrates that God is humble. God in his might, power and majesty, is also a humble God. He is not like the gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He is not like the powerful people of yesterday and today that will do anything in order to gain prestige, power and money.
Christianity is all-encompassing. The way of life that we are called to live is essentially different from anything known to humanity before the coming of Christ and even after his coming. For this reason, the Incarnation of the Word made flesh is the most unique event in human history.
Msgr. Luigi Giussani, an Italian priest and founder of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation wrote: "And this is what sparks hostility to him. While he calls himself 'master' and asks to be followed, one can recognize and go with him or decide not to, and there is still room for mere indifference. But when his proposal clearly claims to enter the dominion of our freedom, he is either accepted and it becomes love, or rejected and it becomes hostility.
In order to acknowledge such a claim, the person who lends an ear to it must renounce himself, sacrifice the autonomy of his own criterion and he must do so in such an appreciable way, as only happens through love. If an individual rejects this self-renunciation, then a fundamental aversion sets in, seeking justification in every possible way."
The mysteries surrounding Holy Week offer a contrast between the humility of Jesus and the perverse pride of Caiphas, the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Judas and all those who cried out that he be crucified.
The remedy for pride is the virtue of humility. This is the solution for a world so filled with sin and corruption. The Catholic Church in America could be more effective and more relevant in the life of people if all of us were shining examples of the humility of Jesus. Pope Benedict once warned that pride is the cause of spiritual blindness.
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, he does not water down the truth of the revelation that he is the Messiah. He is true God and true Man, the Incarnate Word, the one who was to come not to condemn the world, but to save it. Jesus, even though humble, kind, compassionate and gentle, cannot deny the truth of who he is. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The simple and humble people of the Holy Land came out to proclaim the truth that Jesus is the Lord: "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
And yet, as the multitude proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, there was already at hand a large number of people who had rejected Jesus. They were already getting ready for the first Good Friday. These were the proud who were incapable of believing that Jesus is the Lord.
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Click here and listen to Father's Sunday homilies. Visit Father on the web and check out his book Get Serious - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, an inspirational and easy to follow guide for living a deeper spiritual life.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Sunday homily, Lent, Holy Week, Passion Sunday, Catholic spirituality, Palm Sunday, Jesus, Fr James Farfaglia
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
- The Surprise of Easter
- Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis: Let the Risen Jesus Enter Your Life
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- The Resurrecting Power of Mercy
- On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Reflection: Let us Apply the Splint of the Cross to our Fractured Freedom
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2013
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 4/1/2013
Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, He´s so heavenly he is no earthly good. I suggest again that it misses the mark completely. We are Easter people. We are called to ...Continue Reading
Fr. Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
To make sure that all mankind knows that it is not over but actually just beginning, God has an Easter bombshell. While we may have been able to anticipate the wondrous joy of a day of resurrection, ...Continue Reading
Pope Francis - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »