homily – April 1

Palm Sunday

Today is April Fool’s Day. It’s appropriate that we celebrate Palm Sunday on this day. In the gospel for the blessing of the palms, we hear of Jesus’ triumphal entry into the holy city. As they spread palm branches on the road to hold down the dust as they sang these beautiful words, ‘Blessed is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord.’

The reading of the Passion shows us just how shallow was the triumph of Palm Sunday. Within days the Jesus they welcomed would be the Jesus they rejected. Within days the King they welcomed would be crowned with thorns, draped in a purple army cloak, his scepter and empty reed. April Fool. Jesus would be mocked, ridiculed and shamed. Those He treated as friends, companions would deny, betray and abandon Him. Years later, reflecting on all these events, St. Paul would write, ‘it’s the foolish things God has chosen to confound the wise, the weak things God has chosen to confound the powerful.’ It is through the foolishness, this weakness, this humiliation of Jesus we have come to the wisdom of God, the power of God and the glory of God.

As we begin this Holy Week St. Paul encourages us to ‘have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus Who was obedient even to death on the cross.’ Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who was fool enough to say to the Father, ‘not my will but Your’s be done.’ Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus Who was fool enough to trust His Father no matter how desperate things became, no matter how cruelly friends deserted Him, no matter how abandoned He felt, even on the cross.

Be foolish enough to hand our lives over to God, be foolish enough to try to live our lives as Jesus lived His, be foolish enough to love as He loved, forgive as He forgave – be foolish enough to see through the shame and emptiness of the values and life styles our times see as so important, so with it.

There are those who see us as fools, hood winked for being so naïve as to believe in God, believe in Jesus, believe in His resurrection – especially for believing in the church – how dumb can we be?

As we continue to celebrate this Mass on April Fools Day we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we be blessed with the mind of Christ and be foolish enough to hand our hopes and fears and all our lives over to God and in great trust in God’s love for us echo the words of Jesus -’not my will but your will be done.’