Homily – Palm Sunday

My friends, as we begin Holy Week, just a few thoughts.  I decided, due to the reading of the Passion today and the wealth of the other Scriptures; we might just reflect a bit on the emotional side of what this day brings us.  We could spend time describing the significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and of how he did everything as the prophets foretold, but when all is said and done, it is really all about love—love first for the God who sent him and then love for those who awaited a Messiah.  He, of course was a different manifestation from what the people thought they needed and wanted, a King to conquer the Romans—instead of a humble man of character and a servant—this was who they needed and only later would they discover, it was who they wanted as well.

Paul, in his beautiful treatise on Jesus to the Philippians says it simply, “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to it…but became as all people are.”  Jesus in his image as slave and servant showed us the way to go—not as this world sees greatness, but as God does.

We saw these images throughout Lent in the form of the Good Shepherd, the Samaritan woman at the well to whom Jesus gave, ‘living water,” the man, born blind to whom Jesus gave much more than physical sight.

This week will zero in on three very significant days—the Triduum—remembering the institution of the Eucharist and the formal institution of the priesthood—ideally intended to be a calling to service.  Within the Holy Thursday service Jesus demonstrates what being a servant means when he washes the feet of his apostles—not about him—but about others.  Pope Francis has been trying to reacquaint the present day “apostles” to this concept and still there are those who don’t get it!

We will meet as a community here on Good Friday to remember the height and length and depth of our God’s love for us.  To be about love—to wear it as a breastplate as Christians means that as Jesus did, love is always the response to what we as humans can come up with by way of injustice, even if we stand alone.  Jesus would not compromise this principle and he knew what the consequences were for that stance.

The Easter Vigil concludes the Triduum as we remember and reflect on our salvation history—a story that delineates God’s over-the-top love for us—always directing the prophets of Old and New to keep us as a people on-track until the message of love could be given to us in perfect form—in the person of Jesus.

This, my friends is a wonderful week that we are beginning—one not to be taken lightly, one not to miss.  Let our prayer for each other be that our God’s over-the-top loving for us be something that we can give back as we respond to our world.