Palm Sunday 2022 Preaching by Sister Elise García, OP April 10, 2022 Luke 22:14 - 23:56 As we celebrate this Palm Sunday, with a bright sunny day marking the final days of our Lenten journey, our readings from Luke’s Gospel reflect the pivot we are again about to take. We entered the chapel waving palms in a joyful procession. After hearing the Passion, we are now left in the shadow of an excruciating death that devastated all the hope that Jesus had inspired through his radical love and Way of being. Jesus himself intuited what lay ahead. He prayed that God would “remove this cup from me” – yet accepted what seemed inevitable precisely because of his Way. He emptied himself, as Saint Paul wrote. Humbled himself. It would not become clear until the women returned to the tomb after the Sabbath that a much larger story was at work here, in the shadow of this gruesome death. It is a story that is as alive today – in the shadow of gruesome deaths in Ukraine – as it was then. It is alive today in the shadow of whatever anguish we each might carry in our hearts. English mystic Julian of Norwich put it this way: “There is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.” Etty Hillesum, a Jewish girl in the harrowing misery of a Nazi concentration camp, spoke of a feeling that soared “straight from my heart – like some elementary force – … that life is glorious and magnificent, and that one day we shall be building a whole new world." Twentieth century African-American mystic Howard Thurman said in his Lenten prayer: “Listen to the long stillness. New life is stirring … Humankind is forging a new mind. God is at work. This is the season of Promise.” As we step into this Holy Week, let us turn our hearts to one another, emptying ourselves, humbling ourselves, readying ourselves to feel – and to be – the force of love moving through the universe. It is holding us fast and will never let us go.