Fr Thomas’ Homily for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Barabbas or Jesus, have your pick!

The trial of Jesus in front of Pilate the Governor should inspire you and me to a personal reflection. Pilate wants the people to make a choice between Barabbas and Jesus. “Barabbas” literally means “son of the father”, presumably the Father in Heaven. Even though he bears such a beautiful name, by his own choice his life shows anything but. Here is a man who made a mockery of his name; the Gospel describes him as a criminal. He is the figure of those who are initiated to be children of God through baptism but has abandoned the Christian ways to a self-gratifying way of living. Whereas “Jesus” means “God saves”. As the true Son of the Father in heaven, Jesus is the figure of trust in God’s love. Jesus never looked for his personal glory. He was here to show the Glory of the Father in Heaven. Reading the narrative of Pilate’s call to choose between Barabbas and Jesus is an invitation for us to reflect on whether we are figures of God’s love or only Christians by name.

In your examination of conscience, if you have found yourself chosen to favour Barabbas, this is the time to act. Make an act of contrition like Peter who wept over his denial of Jesus as his master. Peter remembered the words of Jesus, who commented on his life by predicting that he will deny Jesus three times. In reading the Bible we let the Word of God interpret our life. If, unfortunately, you too are lapsed like Peter, pray to be restored to the fellowship of Christ and to be made worthy of the promises of the Resurrection. This Holy Week liturgies are setting the mood for a Christian conversion.