Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
March 25, 2018
Homily by Fr. John De Celles
St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church
One day they shouted:
““Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!.”
But only a few days later they shouted: “crucify Him!”
The crowd cheering their messiah one day,
is the same crowd crying for is blood, or abandoning Him to the cross
only a few days later.
Today you are here worshiping your beloved Jesus…
but this week will you abandon Him?
Will you, by your sins, join the crowd shouting “crucify Him!”,
or simply leave Him to the crowd because you’re too important or too busy.
Or will you make this week, truly a Holy Week?
In the original Greek Scripture the word that we translate as “holy”
literally means “set apart.”
So let this week be truly holy—set apart—
radically different from every other week of the year.
Every day, take time to think and pray, if ever so briefly, but constantly,
about the Lord’s Passion.
Feel compassion for His terrible suffering,
and sorrow for your sins that cause it.
And think: let your intellect, guided by faith and grace,
lead you to understand more fully the mystery of God’s love
and the depravity of our sins.
But this week is not just about mere feelings or reason.
As St. Paul reminds us today, it is about, how God the Son
“emptied Himself,” of divine glory and came “in human likeness,”
–in human flesh.
And how He allowed that flesh to be torn by whips, thorns, nails and a sword,
and even to die “on a Cross.”
This week, then, we must live out our sorrow for and understanding of
the Lord’s suffering in our own flesh:
by saying a kind word rather than a cruel word;
by giving a helping hand, rather than the back of our hand;
by being chaste, rather than yielding to lust.
And all this week the Church offers us unique beautiful liturgies
that help us to walk with Jesus in His hour of need
and to stand at the foot of His Cross.
Today St. Paul tells us:
“Jesus…did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at,”
or “clinged to.’
This week, what will you grasp at as more important than your suffering Jesus?
Will you cling to work, or busy schedules or even school?
Or this one week, will you humbly cling to Christ?
So I ask you right now, in your hearts, will you promise Jesus
to come to one or more of the holy week liturgies or sacraments?
If you haven’t been this Lent, will you finally come to confession?
Will you come daily Mass at on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday—or all 3?
Will you promise Jesus to come to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday,
commemorating His institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood,
and to watch and pray afterwards with the Lord
like the apostles in the garden of Gethsemane?
Will you come on Good Friday at 3 o’clock, the hour of the Lord’s Death,
–the holiest hour in all history–
for the powerful liturgy of the veneration of the cross,
to stand in line to kiss the cross of Christ,
and then to receive His crucified Body in Communion?
And, finally, how many will commit in their hearts right now, to come
to the most beautiful Mass of the Year Saturday night
—the Easter Vigil: the first celebration
of the light of the Resurrected Christ piercing the darkness?
Do not leave Christ behind in the church today,
or alone with the crowd this week.
Be with Him all week, at every moment—in your minds and hearts,
and in your bodies as well: at work, at home, and here in church.
Do not let this let this most sublime week of love ever in human history
be just like any other week of the year.
Let this week be different, set it apart, and let it be for you a truly HOLY WEEK.