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  • Writer's pictureFr. Paul MacNeil

Homily for Palm Sunday, March 24, 2024

This is a relatively short homily because of the blessing of Palms and the lengthy reading of the passion.


Last year, I had the honour of visiting the Holy Land for the first time. It was a remarkable trip for many reasons, not the least of which was a visit to the Garden of Gethsemani. We saw olive trees that were over 2,000 years old. We also went to a church with a natural stone platform that, in all likelihood, was where Jesus prayed just before he was arrested. I asked our tour guide how he knew this was the spot - after all, this happened 2000 years ago. He thought there were several reasons. First, this was the Mount of Olives, no one has changed the name of the geographical location, no one needed to. Second, some olive trees have been dated to over 2000 years old, based on the size of their trunks . Thirdly, the natural stone platform was bedrock, part of the area's geology. That hadn't moved or been replaced or been built on. So, in all likelihood, it was that very spot where Jesus cried before God and before his arrest: "Let this cup pass from me."


That rock is significant. The Bible tells us that he "threw Himself on the ground." In this terrifying moment, I wonder if he found comfort in that rock. Sometimes we, too, can go through our own form of Gethsemeni, some of you are going through it right now. I want to encourage you to see God and to see Jesus as a rock for you. Something you can count on, something like bedrock, something stable. This will help you in your life, in good times and in bad.


I conclude with this passage from Psalm 62:


In God alone is my soul at rest; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock, my salvation, my fortress; never shall I falter. In God is my salvation and glory, my rock of strength; in God is my refuge. Trust him at all times, O people. Pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.

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