For Our Sake – Christ
Greetings on this the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Readings: MT 21:1-11; IS 50:4-7; PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; PHIL 2:6-11; MT 26:14—27:66
Homilies on Palm Sunday are usually brief due to the length and complexity of the entire liturgy. Today is a big day and offers much for those present at Mass and from the live streaming to enter into the imminent drama of the Passion.
I referenced two homilies of Saint John Paul II as part of my research:
- Palm Sunday homily of 04 April 1993, and;
- Palm Sunday homily of 16 April 2000.
The whole of the Church acclaims along the way to Jerusalem Jesus of Nazareth. Coming from the Mount of Olives and approaching the Holy City, palms are spread voices raise in a greeting to the Son of David.
Blessed is He who comes!
It is true we reenact this scene. Yet we should remember that this is not a far off and distant coming but rather the coming of the One, Jesus Christ – “The same yesterday, today and forever”. In a very real way we are experiencing the same as those living and breathing on that very day.
Christ enters Jerusalem for the final time as his earthly pilgrimage draws to a close. He is the fulfillment of the prophets’ messianic mission. He is King and Servant. God and Man. We celebrated his incarnate person even just a few short months ago.
We cannot ignore the covenant message of the centuries and generations awaiting this Messiah. We share the same hope and in a way the same disappointment. Who among us is not guilty of saying ‘Why me?’ Especially in these most trying days. In our Baptism we hope for an effortless, painless, seamless life on this earth. In a way similar to those glorifying God on that day. Jesus came to free us from a power far worse than the Roman overlords.
In this Triumphant entry we celebrate the Lord and the coming of his Messiah.
We celebrate also the deep mystery of salvation. The very center of our being yearns for this day: Peace with God.
Yes, Jesus comes as King and Servant. God and Man. And the lowest of Man.
God Highly Exalted
It is a mystery too how and why God exalts the obedient and humble Jesus even unto his death. It takes effort to understand this as the mystery of the Gift and the freedom that comes from within the interior of God.
It startles us that from the Triumphant entry deep movement and conflict. Conflict inside us and between us and between us and God. Yet it is this very conflict he has come to resolve. Abasement and Exaltation. Side by side. Intermingled, inseparable.
Abasement and Exaltation
Jesus emptied himself. He set aside even his own life for us. He gave visible expression to the buffets and scars we inflict upon the Creator. Psalm 22 gives the deepest of exclamations: My God My God why?
It is the question that Jesus breaks open for us and brings resolution to. Why?
Nothing we experience is outside of the very tender heart of God.He let us touch his heart even if my the point of a spear. Nothing is beyond, no pain, no fear, no hope, no bad or good thing is distant from Him.
Let us Praise God today. Let us see perhaps for the first time his bleeding and tender heart for us.
The imminent drama of the Passion is upon us. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is the path. The promise is our hope.
We too will one day be lifted up in its second sense. Brought into the breast of God.
Peace be with you,