FR. TOM'S HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY, March 28, 2021:
Jesus Christ “humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” In the liturgy, before the Second Vatican Council, on Palm Sunday after the reading of the Passion, there was no homily. Even the concluding acclamation: “The Gospel of the Lord” was omitted. It was a proclamation so profound that was greeted by an equally profound silence. Our liturgy today still calls for a respect for that silence. In fact, the directives after the Passion Gospel are this, “A brief homily should take place, if appropriate.” In the face of the Cross of Jesus, in recognition of his Passion and Death for us, the most eloquent response to this saving Word of God we have proclaimed, is silence. The best, most profound homily that could ever be preached is not in words, but it is in image, it is in action – it is the Cross.
We find Jesus on the Cross today – not for any sin of His own, but for the sins of all of us throughout all of time. He is on that Cross because that’s how great His love is for us. Those two crossed pieces of wood are the most profound symbol of love that there is. Jesus died for us because He loves us. It is as simple as that; it is as profound as that.
Listen to those words: “He died for us.” He died for you, for me, for everyone. Many of us have heard these words so many times that they no longer carry the shock of someone dying on account of what we have done. The challenge for each of us is to hear this message again today as though it were the first time, the story of a man who literally died for the sins of His sisters and brothers. He died for us!
And there is no more appropriate moment to be reminded of this profound reality of God’s love. We can feel overwhelmed by all that has happened over this last year. We can feel anxious, alone, and afraid. But, the Son of God hanging on that Cross reminds us of the most powerful reality – that God has conquered death. There is nothing that we are facing – even in the midst of this pandemic – t that is bigger or more powerful than God. He died for us; and so we are saved. He died for us; and so we will be okay because we are wrapped in God’s loving and compassionate arms. Those arms that once spanned that beam from left to right are now wrapped around you and around me; and nothing in our world is more powerful than that. Feel the embrace of Jesus around you right now because He opened those arms on the Cross and then wrapped them around you and me.
As we proclaim the Passion and let it sink into our hearts, we are meant to be awestruck, humbled, silenced. If Christ’s love was shown through this profound action, our gratitude will likewise require the action of the way we live our lives in response. We are called to live lives that worthy of this kind of love.
My friends, let us allow ourselves to be drawn into the profound silence this day demands – He died for you. Let those words linger all week. He died for you. Embrace those words and allow Christ’s Passion to form you, change you. Take some time this week and read this story again slowly and reflectively. He died for you. Let the reality of Christ’s Passion make this a truly holy week for us all.
May the Lord give you peace.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.