Bishop John’s Homily on Palm SundayMonday 29th March 2021
Bishop John’s Homily on Palm Sunday
Well, I hope you’ll excuse my way of going about this but I’ve found that in recent years that the best way for me and for some other people is to try to understand Holy Week is through the perspective of the Disciples. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to call in one of the disciples, Bartholomew now. Bartholomew, if you would:
It’s been a fantastic day. I can’t believe it, we’re all really on a high. We’re in Jerusalem, Jesus has been saying for the last three years that we’ve been with him as we’ve gone around all the towns and villages in Galilee that we would be coming to Jerusalem, but we’re here! I’ve never seen a city like it. The crowds, did you see all those people who turned out to greet him? They were throwing their cloaks on the ground and waving palms, and saying Hosanna, Son of David. They recognised who he is, and they have been waiting for him. It was the most glorious moment and it’s going to be fantastic, we’re going to go up to the Temple and I think it’s going to take one really good miracle from Jesus to persuade even the most sceptical scribes and pharisees that really he is come from God, he is the Messiah.
We’ve seen loads of miracles in local places and the local scribes just won’t believe it, but here if it happens in the Temple, particularly at the Feast of the Passover, that will be so convincing for everybody. I think that one really serious miracle will do it.
So we’re on a high, it’s just too good to be true. We’re here in Jerusalem at last. I think we’ll probably stay in Jerusalem for quite a while because once people recognise Jesus is the Messiah we won’t need to go anywhere else and we’ll be with him – his twelve, faithful Disciples. It’s going to be an exciting time. But I must go now, because we have to find somewhere to stay in Jerusalem tonight but I hope to see you in the next few days.
Thank you Bartholomew. It must have been an extraordinary moment to be coming into Jerusalem and to be welcomed in that way, but we have to be thinking about Jesus. He is living a rather different story. He said my time has now come. He knows he is at the end of his earthly ministry. I wonder what sort of detail he already knows about the way he is going to die, does he realise it’s going to be by crucifixion after a scourging?
These days are going to be so difficult. He’s got to go on teaching the Disciples and he has a lot to say to them, and they’ve not been that good at listening to all he’s said before. He’s told them all about suffering, dying and rising but they’ve not been listening or taking it in. But he’s got to be faithful to them, even in those last days. So he is utterly faithful to his disciples and as I start Holy Week, and I hope you will join me, I think there’s a very important lesson here.
The disciples mean well, they’re doing their best but they’re making mistakes, they aren’t understanding things and they don’t see clearly what’s going on, but Jesus is not going to give up on them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always interpret the will of God that clearly, I don’t always see His plan falling into place, the next step along the road of salvation. But I don’t think that Jesus is too disappointed in that. He is going to be faithful to me, and to us. We have a long and strange road ahead, haven’t we? What a strange and difficult year that we’ve lived through, and it’s not over yet. We’ve got to learn new ways of being Church and being faithful to the Gospel values, but Jesus will be faithful just as he was to those disciples through the last days of his ministry, when they thought everything was going so well and actually he knew it wasn’t going well at all, but it was going according to the Father’s plan.
Let us take this time in Holy Week to recognise God’s faithfulness to each and every one of us. He is not going to leave us strangers and lost, He is going to be as faithful to us as He was to his disciples throughout his ministry. We ask the Lord to stay with us on our journey.
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