homily – March 16

Matthew 26:14-27:66

Today we begin our Holy Week. We are not just celebrating another Sunday. We are entering into the whole drama of our salvation. This is a week of two parades. Today we join in the triumphant entry of Jesus into the Holy City. Riding on a donkey, as the kings of Israel always did Jesus is greeted by an enthusiastic crowd calling out “Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Our procession with the palms re-enacts that wonderful moment. Five days from now we will join in another parade, the way of the cross. We will walk with Jesus as he stumbles through the streets of Jerusalem dragging a cross, ridiculed and made the fool, winding His way outside the city walls to the place of the skull where He will be crucified and die a shameful death.

As we begin this Holy Week the Apostle Paul encourages us, “have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus Who did not consider being equal to God as something to be clung to but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave and being obedient even to death upon a cross.”

What is this ‘mind of Jesus’ we are called to make our own? First of all Jesus is motivated by love, what proves Christ loved us is that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. He was obedient to His Father’s will – let this chalice pass me by, yet not my will but your will be done. He forgave friends and enemies. Father forgive them for they know not what they do. He entrusted His life to God, “into your hands I commend my spirit”.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass and enter as fully as we can into this Holy Week we can pray for ourselves and for each other that when we face critical and painful times in our lives we will have that loving, trusting, faithful mind of Christ putting our pains and struggles and hurts into the hands of God – trusting that as God vindicated Jesus by raising Him from the dead, He will bring us to life and love even through the most difficult times of our lives.