Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Day of Contrasts (Palm Sunday Homily)

Today is a day of contrasts.

We begin Palm Sunday Mass with the triumphal entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem. We chant with the crowds from that day: 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'

Shortly thereafter, the mood turns much more somber and severe as we yell out with the crowds just a few short days later: 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'

This day (and indeed this upcoming week) is jarring, moving from one extreme to the other.

By doing so, the Church invites us to reflect upon our own lives, to consider by our words and deeds, by our action or inaction, which crowd are we truly a part of.

Do our actions, does our testimony to Christ chant with that welcoming crowd: 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'

Do our sins, our inability to give testimony to Christ, scream out: 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'

I know I like to think that I am always in the prior grouping, rather than the latter. But I am not always so sure. St. Josemaria Escriva, in his reflections on this day, recognizes this tension: "I like to think that I am always welcoming to Christ, but then I recognize my sins, my weaknesses, the times in my life when I have been too much like Peter in failing to testify that I even know Jesus. Even worse, have there been times when I was even like Judas in betraying My Lord?"

As we begin Holy Week, the Church invites us to take some extra time this week to focus and pray on whether we are in the first group (Hosanna!) or in the latter (Crucify!). We invite you to take part in these three special days of the Triduum. To walk with Our Lord over his last days on earth that we might truly enter into His Passion, so that we might enjoy the fruits of His Resurrection all the more.

We walk this journey with Him, that we might continue our path of conversion, our continued turning of the heart to the Lord, so that we might always and everywhere proclaim by thought, word and deed: Hosanna to the Son of David, rather than cry out: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

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