Fr. Dale’s Homily

Passion/Palm Sunday

April 1-2, 2023

We would all be amazed if a king freely stepped down from his throne and became a street person.  The same surprise and amazement would come if a pope decided to freely leave his office and become a lowly country priest in some forgotten country parish.  How much more should our amazement be that God would become a human being in a small out-of-the-way place of a downtrodden country.  Jesus came into our world; lived a simple life accepting, healing and forgiving.  He angered a corrupt government who condemned Him to death…a death He accepted!

Today we begin a week that we call HOLY in which we remember the last earthly days of Jesus.  The scriptures dramatize for us the meaning of those days.  They give us a picture of a servant who would willingly die out of obedience to God… and the love of every human being.

The first reading tells of a man who speaks on the part of God and who is consequently persecuted for his actions.  Because he proclaimed God’s Word, he is treated brutally.  As we shall hear again this week, Jesus is the Suffering Servant who, in the midst of His agony, trusts God totally.

Paul gives us a picture of who Jesus is and what His mission was.  It is quite clear that Jesus IS God.  Without ceasing to be God, He becomes a person who is a slave.  Jesus humbles Himself and freely accepts death ON A CROSS.  But God will raise Him up.  Paul tells us to mirror the same attitude Jesus had… be a Servant obedient to God’s plan.

The Gospel carries on the same picture of Jesus “giving it His all” and trusting in His God.  The short Gospel reading at the Blessing of the Palms shows Jesus entering the Big City, Jerusalem.  But He is a king…on a donkey, riding an animal that represents peace.  No fanfare there on His part…

The passion story gives you and me the story of a just person being put to death.  Jesus came to proclaim God’s care and forgiveness to a world that was broken spiritually.  His message was not well received by a proud and haughty people.  They wanted Him out of the way.  But Jesus was faithful… unlike anything they had seen before… or since

Jesus was not a simpleton.  As He went about speaking truth, the “authorities” were mad, enraged, furious and… generally not happy.  It was a matter now of WHEN they would fatally hurt Him, not a matter of IF.  Think about it, Jesus COULD have stopped His preaching and went off to Egypt for a while, long enough for them to calm downBut, He did not.  He would have betrayed God had He done so.  He was faithful… no matter the cost.

It is Paul who summarizes anyone’s response to this kind of Jesus.  We must put on the attitude of The Master.  We, too, must become servants to the Will of God.  That has its’ own high cost – DYING TO SELF.   We can do this… IF we trust. 

The Eucharist is a celebration of remembering.  The only way to celebrate this Eucharist is to go and be like Him. 

Anything less will leave one hungry and thirsty.