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Homily – Palm Sunday

This Lent we have been sharing the homilies from various priests within our Diocese. This week we hear from Fr Simon Eccleton.

Deep in the heart of human beings is the desire to be truly free. No one wants to be a prisoner, or worse, a slave. Freedom is a precious state which is worth fighting for.

When we look at the distress today of the people of the suffering people in Myanmar, Thailand, and Hong Kong (and other places), we feel sorrow in our hearts. We want to support those who are supressed by the ‘sword’ and we salute the vigour of the often young people who stand up to tyranny. As Easter approaches let’s keep them closely in our prayers.

Jesus speaks much about freedom. He entreats his followers to “learn the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8: 32).

It is interesting that Jesus calls on us to learn the truth. One might reasonably ask is the truth not obvious? In fact, it can be difficult to immediately recognise the truth. The attraction of things of the world can overwhelm our senses and we can be fooled by broken wisdom which never delivers what it promises.

Lets consider the world’s wisdom:

Surely, it may be said, it is wise to gather ever more possessions around us so that we can be happy? No, those possessions will seek to control us and kill our spirit.

Surely, it is wise to amass personal wealth as a protection from future disasters? No, give to the poor and trust in God alone.

Surely, the more power we take to ourselves, the more we will be able to help others in the world? No, undue power numbs us to the plight of others and hardens our hearts.

Time and again the wisdom of this world gives us exactly the opposite of that which we are seeking.

And so Jesus in his Church invites us to 40 days of self-purification. We stepped aside from the comfort of this life over these Lenten days , and then starting today we accompany our Lord on his journey from joyful entry into Jerusalem to the ominous Last Supper, then the horror of his Passion and death, and finally the transforming drama of his resurrection.

This journey is our way of “learning the truth” as Jesus asked us to do. We allow it to become part of our story, our identity. In this way we become wise to the ways of the world, wise to our own frailties. Becoming one with Christ we meet truth, and it is that truth which sets us free. Welcome to Holy Week.