Homily for March 20

Detail from Crucifix by Cimabue

Homily for Palm Sunday(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Although it's at the very heart of our faith,
the story of the suffering and death of Jesus
is recounted in its entirety only twice a year,
and then in the same week,

on Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Though we hear this story infrequently,

its images, scenes and characters are vivid in our imagination.

Particular words and phrases

have embedded themselves in our memory and in our hearts,

evoking repentance and prayer...

Don't these words echo in a place deep in your soul?

"This is my body, given for you...
A new covenant in my blood, shed for you..."

"The one who is to betray me is with me at this table..."

"Before the cock crows this day
you will deny three times that you know me..."

"Father, if you are willing,
take this cup away from me;
still, not my will but yours be done..."

"Judas, will you betray me with a kiss?"

"I do not know the man..."

Peter went out and wept bitterly...

They held him in custody,
ridiculed, beat him,
blindfolded, struck and reviled him...

"Away with this man - give us Barabbas!"

"Crucify him!"

"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do..."

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom..."

He breathed his last...

Any of these words, these phrases, these images

would be good food for prayer in the days ahead...

We enter the Week we call Holy 

when Christians around the world pause

to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

May the story of his suffering and death, embedded in our hearts,

refresh our faith in his love poured out for us...
and bring us all to the peace and joy of Easter. 


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