CALL US NOW (+254-20) 3884 528

Palm Sunday, Year B-2024 Reflection

Palm Sunday, a Celebration of the paradox of a Life and the Culture of hope at the CIEE/CCU in Bangui

First Readings: Isaiah 50, 4-7; Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 21, 8-9, 19-20; Second Reading: Philippians 2, 6-11:

Gospel: Mark 14, 1-15-47

This Palm Sunday Reflection is by Fr. Hounsa Gbenoukpo Léon SJ., the Director of Centre Catholique Universitaire (CCU) de Bangui, Central Africa Republic.

The exhilaration and joy of Jesus’ welcome in Jerusalem gave way to intrigue, persecution, the passion and death of Jesus, to real desolation. This episode in the life of Jesus is part of the living memory of Christians who celebrate it on the feast of Palm Sunday. Jesus, the Messiah of God, unknown to his disciples, did not enter Jerusalem for the royal crown, but to assume, with great zeal and spiritual zeal, his passion, his death and his resurrection for the salvation of all. Palm Sunday is a feast of hope. 

The Feast of Palm Sunday is paradoxical: chanting the palm branches in joy recalling the triumphant welcome of Jesus in Jerusalem and the long and trying reading of Jesus’ passion and death, which erases all joy and opens hearts to sympathize with Jesus suffering, poor, humiliated and crucified. At the heart of this paradox is the lack of knowledge of God’s true plan for humans. The Roman centurion witnessed a more painful spectacle: “Truly, this man was the Son of God!” It is the paradox of a life, passing through the joyful welcome of Jesus, the Messiah of God, which gives way to the funereal atmosphere of his death, as the Son of God, opening up to the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

This paradox illuminates our hope because it reminds us of the passage from our mortal existence to the life of God. Our apostolates are places of hope, life and shared happiness. These apostolates are what Christ Jesus brings to the world, the hope of happiness with God amid social lethargy, military-political crisis, and profound economic crisis. How can we maintain hope among the beneficiaries of our apostolates in contexts of crisis?

The Centre Catholique Universitaire (CCU) in Bangui, Central Africa Republic is a place of hope for most of the young people who participate in the many training courses and activities. Several of these young people belong to Health Info Clubs of the CIEE/CCU whose main action is the prevention and fight against STI-HIV/AIDS. Their enthusiasm during training and mobilization activities highlights an inner strength of resilience in the face of personal crises and challenges, also allowing them to empathize in the face of suffering. The CIEE has made its Peer Educators vectors of humanity, bearers of hope. The fight against HIV/AIDS through the comprehensive training offered by “AHAPPY GENERATION” awakens their awareness to the danger of a sexuality devoid of human and religious values.

The culture of hope within the CIEE is a culture of action, of the fight against HIV/AIDS, through awareness campaigns, screening, etc. Mobilization activities such as the Peer Educators’ back-to-school program, the mini-marathon, etc. reinforce the knowledge acquired during various training courses. The CIEE retains, today and for the future, various places through which hope can be maintained, in particular awareness campaigns in high schools and colleges.

The celebration of Palm Sunday is an invitation to give birth to hope in the lives of humans. It helps us to make the transition from a life of sorrow to a life of joy, from a situation of conflict to a situation of greater cohesion and social unity, from a health crisis to a life of eradication.  

Ismael Matambura



Sign up now to get email updates on the current happenings at AJAN Africa.