Palm Sunday 2017


Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14–27:66

Participating in the Love of God


We are entering Holy Week, the source and summit of our faith, because–as St. Paul says in 1 Co. 15:3-5–we believe first and foremost that the Lord Jesus died and rose to save us from sin and death. We are entering into the mystery of Christ’s last days on earth. Let us accompany him in the unfolding of those events so that he can enter our life and transform it into a mirror image of his. We enter Holy Week to sanctify every week of our journey through time. In these days we can choose to remain with Jesus, as he himself asked of his disciples then and now. He wants us to “stay awake with him” (cf. Mt. 26:40) not only in terms of time by giving priority to essentials rather than to the stresses and strains of our daily routine, but also by taking a stand: Whose side are we on? Do we want to be of the world, or–like Jesus–do we want to be in the world while at the same time not allowing it to claim us as its own because we were created for heaven?

We enter this battle between light and darkness, good and evil, life and death, by commemorating the day on which the citizens of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. It was a short-lived tribute because that is how human beings often behave with one another–we offer others transitory acclaim because our convictions are not deeply rooted. The inhabitants of Jerusalem celebrated the arrival of Jesus in common accord but from a worldly perspective, so their rejoicing swiftly changed from Hosanna! to Crucify him! And yet this human frailty also foreshadowed the definitive victory of Christ, fulfilled by his death and resurrection. The flawed and fleeting vicissitudes of own history can also witness to this act of faith because they too can be instruments for attaining the eternal glory of heaven.

With Jesus, let us enter the Holy City on the back of the humble mode of transport used by kings in times of peace and let us recognize that genuine peace can never be imposed on someone at the price of that person’s blood. Peace is not based on who possesses the strongest weapons of deterrence; instead, one must pay for it in the first person. Peace, like love, can never be imposed; it must always be offered with disarming and vulnerable humility. The olive branch that we take home with us today reminds us that we are disciples of the Master who followed this path, conquering evil with good.

Let us try to enter more deeply into this mystery, opening ourselves to the gift of God so as to discover that it is Christ who enables us to participate in the love of the Father if we allow our hearts to be pierced by his cross.


Christ Jesus,
merciful King of Peace,
help us enter the Father’s will
along with you,
so that your Spirit will enter us
and convert us from a love for power
to the power of Love.


Fr. Massimo TellanParroco di San Giovanni Crisostomo, Roma