Readings: Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11 Mark 14:1-15:47

Theme: Discipleship

Today the church celebrates Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy week. The liturgy of today presents us with the paradox that will continue to unfold in the course of this week. This is seen in the attitude of the crowd who proclaims Jesus as their king as he enters Jerusalem triumphantly. It is the same crowd or some of them that will be shouting ‘crucify him’, ‘crucify him’ on Good Friday, showing the inconsistency of the human person. The question today is what does the passion narrative mean to me as a person? Today’s narrative shows us how Jesus was betrayed by his own friend. Judas played a very significant role in the human redemption story without knowing it. This is because he facilitated Christ’s passion and death which won salvation for us. The 1st and 2nd readings presents to us some wonderful attributes of Jesus, that every good disciple of Christ should possess. They are humility, obedience and the disposition to face the difficulties of life; trusting in God.

In the passion narrative, there are four groups that are very distinct. The first is the crowd, the second is Peter, the third is Judas Iscariot and the fourth are the women. These four groups that we see in the passion narrative could be termed the four types of discipleships. And the question today would be, what kind of a disciple am I?  Which group of discipleship do I belong to? Do you belong to the crowd who said Jesus is their king and proclaimed him as such and in a few days’ time they will shout ‘crucify him’, ‘crucify him’? Is that your type of discipleship? Or do you belong to the group of Peter who today denounces his master because of fear of what will happen to him if he owns up that he is an apostle? Or to Judas who because of his appetite for money betrayed his master? Or to the women who followed Jesus from afar?

Whichever group you belong to, the season of lent gives us the opportunity to make amends. If you belong to the crowd and that is your type of discipleship, today gives you the opportunity to retrace your steps and go back to the God. If you belong to peter’s group, who renounced Jesus in the face of challenge and fear because of what will be done to him if he owns up; do you also go the extra mile Peter went to beg for the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus? Do you belong to the group of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his master because of his greed and love for money?

Today’s liturgy gives us an opportunity to retrace our steps and go back to God. Do you belong to the group of women who followed Jesus from afar? The type  of discipleship we are all called to embrace, entails following the master in good and bad times. Dearly beloved in Christ, let us use this opportunity to ask for God’s mercy for the many times we have betrayed him and our neighbors, rather than lose hope like Judas. Let us be repentant like peter and ask for God’s mercy. For those who have been betrayed by friends and close associates. Look at Jesus and take courage; this is not the end of the world.

We pray that with Christ we may rise at Easter and be restored to glory. Do not revenge, revenge is of the Lord. Continue to love and remain obedient to the voice of the lord. Like St Paul admonishes us in the second reading let us imitate Christ who was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. It is more profitable to obey, for every act of obedience has a heavenly reward. Therefore instead of destroying our friendship with Jesus and our friendship with our neighbors let us obey God in all things so that we may solidify our friendship with God and our neighbours. May the Lord bless his words in our hearts. Peace be with you. Amen..

Homily for Palm Sunday Year B, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp