Fr Ronald's homily for 5 April 2020

Palm Sunday – 5 th April 2020

The early Christians looked for Old Testament passages such as the
psalms to help them to understand the crucifixion.
Our psalm today is a prayer that moves from a lament to deep
confidence in God.


The Psalms are gutsy prayers – the people are telling God explicitly
what it is they are going through. In the psalms the Jews prayed the
depth of their feelings - if they were angry at God, they expressed the
anger, if they were frustrated they told God – they expressed their
frustration.
It shows us the freeness with which the Jews prayed – nothing was off
limits, they weren’t scared to bring what they were really feeling to God,
because they knew God could handle it.
When we feel that God is absent we might say ‘why did God do this to
me?’ ‘Why did God put me in this situation?’ Our spirit can grow tired,
with all the unsolved riddles that life throws at us.
To be human, is to be tired of these things – ‘why are my prayers not
being answered?’
When suffering comes we understandably want to run from that. In our
culture that means we want to be anesthetized – take a pill, have a drink
– something to take the pain away. And this also becomes ripe territory
for falling into sin because we want relief from the pain we’re going
through.
But in our heart we recognise none of these things resolve anything –
after the effects of the sedative have worn off, the pain is still there, and
often it’s worse. So it’s important to embrace the pain and not run from it
– as Jesus did.
We must not be frightened by the solitude of our internal prison, which
appears very dark. Don’t run from the despair of our situation, be there,
stay with it, because in fact, that’s where God is, in terms of what we’re
experiencing now.

The 2 nd thing to do when close to despair is to realise through faith that
He is here and He is with us. This means that we realise that he has
been expecting us for a long time to see whether we, in the busy din of
our life, might give him a chance to speak. He wants to speak to us.
This apparent distance from God will then be understood to actually be
the disappearance of the world and what follows this is peace. Peace
will come. This is the peace which is beyond all understanding, the
peace which the world cannot give, a peace that does not depend on
external circumstances. It’s an inner reality of what God wants to give
us, in the midst of our suffering and pain.
Christ suffered the same thing in his heart in the garden of Gethsemane.
An angel came to strengthen him. God strengthens us.
In standing firm and drinking from the cup that has been given to us, we
realise in that moment that we need others and that we need God and
so we say ‘God, give me your grace, God help me.’ It’s then that we go
deeper into spiritual life; and it’s then that God can jump into our lives.
Loneliness, pain, despair are a part of human life to which there is no
explanation. We need an act of faith and radical trust, even though we
don’t understand, we believe that there is the God who not only
understands, but the God who became human so that he could walk
with us and be with us in our suffering and despair.