Homily by Father Alex McAllister SDS
Today we begin Holy Week by marking Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. But, like most other things that Christ did, the significance of his entry into the city escaped the notice of the officials and leaders of the people. His undistinguished entry into the Holy City riding on a donkey to the shouts of the bystanders and the waving of palms certainly would not have been seen by the authorities as the arrival of the long-foretold Messiah.
While this little procession escaped the notice of the religious elite it definitely does seem to have caught the imagination of the poor. St Matthew says that there were great crowds of people there spreading their cloaks on the road and waving palms while shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’ When they were asked what was happening they replied that they were welcoming Jesus of Nazareth.
These poor people definitely knew who Jesus really was. Reports of his teaching and his miracles had already reached them and most likely their hearts were full of hope that he could work a few miracles in their midst.
The people would already have heard of such remarkable achievements as the raising of Lazarus which took place just a few days before only two miles from the city, as well as other dramatic events such as the feeding of the five thousand. While this was long before the age of newspapers and the mass media, the swift transmission of gossip would have ensured that Jesus’ reputation went ahead of him.
The poor would also have been very much aware of Christ’s teaching. They would know that he was not part of the religious elite, they would know that he was not forcing religious and moral conformity on them. They would understand very well his message of peace and love and realise that the way that he was proposing was for the betterment of all mankind. It is certain that one of the reasons they welcomed him so heartily was because they wanted to hear more of his teaching.
It didn’t matter to Jesus that he was not welcomed by the High Priests or the leaders of the people. He was more interested in the poor anyway. He came to Jerusalem to bring about the salvation of everyone who was willing to accept his message of love. It was obvious then that his message would find acceptance among the poor and the powerless. It was those with vested interests who would take exception to it. It is only they who would feel threatened by the things that Jesus said and did.
Jesus knew perfectly well that continuing to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to the people was going to end up with him being handed over to the authorities and eventually put to death. But Jesus was perfectly willing to do whatever had to be done because he, above all, was aware of the importance of his mission to bring salvation to the whole world.
The whole Church now in a solemn way, through the liturgy, celebrates the events of that last great fateful week of Jesus’ life. We will accompany Christ to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Praetorium, to the Hill of Calvary and then go with his body to the tomb in the hillside.
We will witness all the events of Christ’s Passion. We will accompany him with fervent prayer, we will confess our sins, we will receive the sacraments and we will experience the desolation of Calvary as well as the joy of Easter Sunday morning. This is indeed a solemn week. It is a week we during which we should attempt to enrich our faith and deepen our fidelity to Christ our Saviour.
St Joseph's Catholic Church
191 High Road
18.00 (Vigil with Hymns)
09.30 (Family Mass)
11.00 (Solemn Mass)
12.30 (With Hymns)
Weekdays: 07.30 & 10.00
Confessions: Saturday 10.30-11.00 & 19.00-19.30
St Joseph's Catholic Church
T: 020 8427 1955
Saturday: 18.00 (Vigil with Hymns)
Sunday: 08.15, 09.30 (Family Mass), 11.00 (Solemn Mass), 12.30, 18.00
Weekdays: 07.30, 10.00 - additional mass every first Friday at 19.00
Saturday: 11.00 & 19.00-19.30
First Friday: 18.00-18.45
EXPOSITION & BENEDICTION
First Friday: 18.00-18-45