HOMILY TRANSCRIPT |Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Manila Cathedral, March 24, 2024

Reverend Monsignor Rolly dela Cruz, Rector of the Manila Cathedral, Reverend Father Viel Bautista, the Vice Rector, dear brother priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated persons, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Today we mark the beginning of the Holy Week with the celebration of the Sunday of the Lord’s Passion or Palm Sunday.  We began this celebration with a moving commemoration of Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem, an event that sets in motion the fulfillment of the divine plan of salvation through His suffering, death, and resurrection. The crowd greeted Him with palm branches in hand. They laid their cloaks and clothing on the path He would traverse, a gesture befitting a king’s victorious procession. It was indeed a welcome reserved for royalty.

However, the initial jubilation was soon overshadowed by a somber narrative, as the Passion of Christ according to Mark was proclaimed. The same multitude that hailed His arrival with joy swiftly switched, calling for His crucifixion. What a tragedy!  This becomes more heartbreaking as we reflect on St. Mark’s depiction of Jesus’ disciples in his Gospel.

St. Mark shows us that the disciples didn’t really get what Jesus was all about. They messed up. Palpak ang mga disipulo ni Hesus. For example, they saw the miracles Jesus did and listened to His words, but they still argued about who was the greatest among them, even when Jesus was facing death.  At the last supper, it was clear that the disciples wouldn’t stand by Jesus. The Lord predicted that Judas would betray Him, and that Peter would deny Him. And that’s exactly what happened. After Jesus was arrested, all His friends left Him by Himself.

My dear friends, it is easy to think we wouldn’t make the same mistakes as the apostles, but in truth, we often find ourselves in their shoes. We proclaim our faith in Jesus, but when faced with challenges, our faith can waver. Minsan kapag ok ang lahat at maayos ang ating buhay, napakadaling sabihing “Sumasapalataya ako sa Diyos”. Yet, when trials come and troubles pile up, we begin to stray and, like the disciples, we too can turn away from Jesus.

We tell Jesus we love Him, but when tough situations happen, we lose focus. We turn to things or other activities for comfort, forgetting the love we should keep. Napakadaling sabihin “Mahal ko si Hesus”.  Pero kapag mahirap nang sundin ang kanyang mga utos, naghahanap tayo ng ibang mamahalin. Yes, we, too, can struggle to stay loyal when our faith is put to the test; just like Peter, Judas, and the other apostles who had trouble staying true to Jesus even though they were very close to Him.

However, there’s always hope. The story of Judas and Peter shows us that. Judas felt so bad for betraying Jesus that he couldn’t see any way to fix things and ended his life. But Peter, even though he also denied our Lord, felt really sorry. He asked for forgiveness and went back to Jesus, showing us that it’s possible to make things right again.

My dear friends, this tells us that even when we mess up, we can still turn things around. Gaano man tayo kapalpak katulad ng mga alagad, maari pa rin tayong magbalik-loob sa Diyos. We aren’t defined by our mistakes, but by how we deal with them. Judas gave up, but Peter chose to say sorry and change his ways. This gives us a strong message of hope: no matter how bad things get, we can always choose to heal and come back together.

Dear brothers and sisters, let’s look at Holy Week as a special time to experience God’s mercy. Let’s admit where we’ve gone wrong and decide to follow Jesus again. When we open our hearts and say sorry, we can really feel God’s forgiveness. In doing so, we reaffirm our dedication to follow Him, strengthened and uplifted by His boundless love. May this Holy Week be a transformative journey for us all, leading us closer to the heart of our faith. Amen. (Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)

 

 

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