Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Homily on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
St. John Paul II Parish, Cedar Springs, Michigan
Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, Sand Lake, Michigan
Father Lam T. Le, Pastor
March 28, 2021
“Not What I Will but What You Will”
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord is the beginning of our HOLY WEEK. Why do
we call it Holy Week?
The Second Reading is the beginning of our refection. It was an early Christian hymn
quoted by St Paul in his letter to the early Christians. The verse before the hymn gives
us the direction for the entire week: “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is
also yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). What is that attitude in Christ that we, his
disciples, must have? The hymn indicates: “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of
God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied
himself… he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a
cross” (Phil 2:6-8). Here is the attitude of Christ: humble himself by obedience to the
point of death on the cross!
This attitude unfolds vividly in the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ
According to Mark which we just heard. For the interest of time, let us focus on Christ’s
agony in the garden: Arriving at Gethsemane to pray after the Last Supper, Jesus
began “to be troubled and distressed” (Mk 14:33) and then “fell to the ground” (Mk
14:35). He prayed: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away
from me, but not what I will but what you will” (Mk 14:36). To do the will of the Father
was not easy for Jesus; therefore, he truly agonized at Gethsemane! The agony was so
great that Jesus fell to the ground! He, however, was obedient to the Father. His
obedience undid the disobedience of the first man. As St. Paul taught us: “For just as
through the disobedience of one person many were made sinners, so through the
obedience of one, many will be made righteous” (Rm 5:19).
Our First Reading, from the prophet Isaiah, portrays a suffering servant. The suffering
servant, in many ways, foreshadows what endured during the Lord’s passion — “I gave
my back to those who beat me… my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting” (Is
50:6). Christ endured such torture, knowing that he did not deserve them, but he humbly
and obediently submitted to the Father’s will.
Why do we call this HOLY WEEK? It is holy because of Christ’s submission to the
Father’s will: “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus’ obedience
has consecrated this week: truly it is a HOLY WEEK.
The introductory addressed at the beginning of Mass while we held palm branches to be
blessed sent us a powerful message: “. . . following in his footsteps, so that, being made
by his grace partakers of the Cross, we may have a share also in his Resurrection and
in his life” (see the Roman Missal, Third Edition). Palm branches are a symbol of
victory and honor. For us to share in Christ’s victory, we must walk in his footsteps:
obedient to the Fathers’ will.
Scriptural Readings: At the Procession with Palms – Gospel Jn 12:12-16; Reading I
IS 50:4-7; Responsorial Psalm PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Reading II PHIL 2:6-11;
Gospel MK 14:1-15:47