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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homily 4-13-2014 Palm Sunday (A): Hosanna to the King, the Son of David

 Today we processed into the Church crying “Hosanna, Hosanna to the Son of David!” This cry echoes the words of the crowd that joyously welcomed Our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, riding on a simple donkey with a small crowd of simpletons as disciples. Certainly this is not the King we expect when we think of the Most High God, exalted above all the earth! And yet our Lord shows his humility in this entrance, performed not because he feeds off the praise of the masses, but because He wants to fulfill His Father's Will, to drink from the cup, even if it means the cup of suffering. And how quickly the suffering comes, and how quickly the crowds turn. And perhaps most painfully for Our Lord, how quickly those closest to Him abandon Him. I can only imagine that when He looks from the cross for those three hours, he certainly noticed that practically all of them were scattered and nowhere to be found.
Pope Francis, as the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, sometimes relives very poignantly the mysteries of Our Lord's life. In these days when the masses of our world, the raucous crowd of our time is praising the Pope for his witness, indeed a good one, I can't help but think that they are very often misunderstanding him just as the mobs misunderstood Jesus. They wave their palms today in praise, but will they soon turn to yell out “crucify him”? Like Jesus, Pope Francis does not enjoy public opinion for its own sake, but only if it is the Father's will, and I expect Him, like many popes before him, to be a sign of contradiction, a man of mixed reception.

When the masses abandon our Pope, when the crowds cry out against the Church, and when the mobs demand Jesus' life, where will we be? It is easy to sing “Hosanna” when everyone else does, but will we still be there at the end? Let us try to be faithful. And also, as Pope Francis asks of us (and shows us with his very life), let us be missionary disciples, those who witness to Christ at all times, especially by our humility, our mercy, our love. These palm branches are signs that we make Jesus our King. I challenge you to carry these around with you. In your pockets, etc. Make a cross of them if you wish. Use them as missionary tools, as methods of evangelization. Help others to see Jesus the King, your king, by your life. And do not abandon Him when the road becomes difficult, for then is your greatest chance to testify to the God who loves us with such deep love.

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