Palm Sunday

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/03/22 at 12:00 AM
  • With today’s Mass we enter once again in that most solemn of weeks for us Christians: Holy Week. Today’s Mass provides us with a prelude to all that we will experience in the coming week so that we can be fully prepared for the joys of Easter.
  • While we call today Palm Sunday, the primary focus of today’s Mass is not the blessing of palms we had at the beginning of the Mass, but the reading of the Passion narrative.
  • The Passion narrative gives the entire story of our Lord’s suffering and death, which we will experience in fuller measure through the Passion Liturgy on Good Friday.
  • Indeed, suffering is the main theme of our readings today, most especially the suffering of our Blessed Lord. But if we restrict our reflections this week to only our Lord’s sufferings, we will fail to fully realize the graces being held out to us.
  • You see, my brothers and sisters, as Christians we are called to imitate our Lord in every way. To be Christian means to be Christ­like.
  • And if we are going to live lives that are authentically and fully Christian, we must be willing to imitate Christ in the most important thing that He did for mankind: we must be willing to embrace suffering, just as Jesus embraced His sufferings, even unto death.
  • Jesus accomplished many things during His 33 years on earth: He was a teacher, a healer, a man of both gentle kindness and bold conviction. But most importantly, He was a Savior, a Savior who chose to suffer and die for His people.
  • It was His suffering that made Jesus the Christ, and if we are going to be Christians in the truest sense of the word, then we must be willing to embrace our sufferings too.
  • This is precisely what Jesus meant when He said that His followers must be willing to take up their crosses.
  • So as we meditate on our Lord’s passion and death this week, let us seek to imitate Him. Let us learn not simply to endure our sufferings, but to embrace our sufferings so that we do not become bitter and hard‐hearted, but more loving and gentle.
  • So many Christians today have the mistaken notion that if we lead virtuous lives and follow Christ, then we shouldn’t have to suffer. We have this mistaken notion that if we give our lives to God, that He should protect us from all evil and suffering.
  • We numb ourselves with the lie that if we’re leading “good” lives, then we don’t deserve to suffer. We mistakenly believe that suffering is always some sort of payback for sin.
  • But in reality, when we decide to live our lives for Christ, we promise to take up our crosses – whatever they may be. And we do this because by faith we know that doing this is the path of redemption. This is the narrow road that leads to Heaven.
  • If we look to the example of the saints, we learn that as we grow in holiness, we begin to see suffering as a most valuable gift from our Lord, because suffering is one of the most powerful ways that our Lord draws us into union with Him.
  • It is through our sufferings, borne with faith, hope, and charity and offered in union with our Lord’s suffering on the cross, that our Lord enables us to make reparation for our sins, grow in virtue, and participate in the redemption of all of mankind.
  • Moreover, the saints teach us that if we love God in a disinterested way that excludes all selfishness, we will be able to endure any suffering life may bring.

As we enter into this Holy Week, let us ask ourselves: How willing am I to suffer? How willing am I to be like Christ in every way? And let us pray that our Lord will enable us to suffer all that is necessary to fulfill His divine plan for our life.

Copyright 2011 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC


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