Like Olive Trees

BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | April 14, 2019

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity of traveling to the Holy Land.

It was our first day there and we found ourselves in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And I must admit, I began to fall apart.

For the few weeks prior had been so difficult.

We had buried Anthony Penna.

We had buried Chris Lavelle.

And I had several Nativity grads who were spiraling.

I was stressed, anxious, afraid.  Weary and worn. And so tired.

And I just couldn’t help but think of Christ kneeling in that spot, knowing exactly what I was going through.

For here he grappled with his own fears, and anxieties, and grief.  Here he let his tears and blood flow.  Safe from the prying eyes of the world.  Offered to his Father. The anguished cries of a child in pain.

As I prepared to leave, our guide pointed to the olive trees right outside the Church.

He said, rather casually.  You know, these could very well be the same trees that Christ saw.

We all stared at him, incredulously, but he continued.  Yeah, olive trees are fascinating. They are virtually immortal.  You can burn then, cut them down, destroy them. But if the roots remain in the ground, they will regrow.  They always do.

And it was in that moment that the truth of what we commemorate today struck home.

See each of us has had our garden moments.

Those moments when we have felt utterly crushed by the weight of our anxieties, our fears, our struggles, our losses.

We all look down the mountain and see the hills of Calvary that loom.

But as believers, this garden is not the final word.

For we are like olive trees, constantly being renewed and reborn,  No matter what we endure. We will rise again. The sun will break through the clouds.  And we will find ourselves basking in its warmth. Standing beside the one who left the garden, mounted the cross, and then shattered the gates of death.  For you. For me. For us all.

May God be Praised

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