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Rev. Mr. John A Sistare
April 16,2000 (Palm Sunday)
Naples Navy Apostolate

"What kind of palms will you place before Jesus?"

In today’s Gospel, we heard of many people placing palms and cloaks before Jesus as he processed into Jerusalem. This morning I have a question for all you…

What kind of palms will you place before Jesus? I am not speaking of palm branches but the palms of our hands. What kind of palms will you place before Jesus this Holy Week?

Will we place palms of anger?

The palms that the crowd waved in praise of our Lord turned into palms clenched in anger and hatred. One minute they shouted, Hosanna and the next, Crucify him! The palms of anger that led Barrabas to commit murder.

Will we place palms of indifference, cowardice, sloth?

The palms that Pilate attempted to wash in his cowardice. He knew what the right thing to do was, but he decided to follow the crowd. He was ‘personally opposed, but…’ You know how that line goes… we hear it all the time in modern day political circles that are afraid to take a stand for the unborn.

Will we place palms of greed or avarice?

The palms of Judas that betrayed our Lord for 30 pieces of silver.

Will we place palms of pride?

The palms of the scribes, chief priests and elders who pointed at the Lord and said he is a threat to their power and therefore, must die. The problem with pride is the "I" in the middle. They were close minded and heard hearted, always focusing on themselves.

Will we place palms of envy, jealousy, slander, gossip?

The palms of the soldiers. This may be a stretch, but if we look at their actions (stripping of Jesus’ garments, crowning of thorns, spitting, mocking, etc..) we may see that we do the same thing when we slander and gossip. Out of envy and jealousy we tear down our neighbor to build ourselves up.

If we are honest, we will see these palms in our own lives. They may be small but they are probably there. WE are sinners!!! We have palms of sin, but fortunately there is another kind of palm. The palms of love!

These are the palms of love that were nailed to a tree as blood flowed forth from them. The palms of Jesus were stretched on a Cross for our palms of sin. By His Cross, we can have our palms washed clean in the sacrament of confession and filled with grace as we are nourished in the Eucharist. I once saw a holy card and on the back read.. "I asked Jesus how much he loved me and He said…This much (as he stretched out his arms) and died."

My brothers and sisters, this is Victory week!!! Holy week is Victory week!!! Good Friday is ‘good’ because by the Cross of Christ, death and sin have been crushed. The palms of love have won for us the victory over sin and death. This Holy week, may we place before Jesus our palms of sin so that His palms of love may wash them clean and we may have new life.


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