Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Palm Sunday

Audio: click here

Just this Friday, Bishop Rhoades recounted to the SJHS students the martyrdom of the four nuns of Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity in Yemen, who were killed exactly two weeks earlier.
This story of Jesus' Passion is not just His story, it is our story. This story is still happening. When the Resurrected Jesus confronted to Saul, he said “why are you persecuting me?” not “my followers.” That is the mystery of Baptism, and that is why the story we read today is the greatest story ever. But we need to make it our own. We are not spectators.

Bishop St. Gregory Nazianzus puts it this way:
Let us sacrifice ourselves to God; or rather let us go on sacrificing throughout every day and at every moment. Let us accept anything for the Word's sake. By sufferings let us imitate His Passion: by our blood let us reverence His Blood: let us gladly mount upon the Cross. Sweet are the nails, though they be very painful. For to suffer with Christ and for Christ is better than a life of ease with others. If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up the Cross and follow. If you are crucified with Him as a robber, acknowledge God as a penitent robber. If even He was numbered among the transgressors for you and your sin, do you become law-abiding for His sake. Worship Him Who was hanged for you, even if you yourself are hanging; make some gain even from your wickedness; purchase salvation by your death; enter with Jesus into Paradise, so that you may learn from what you have fallen. Contemplate the glories that are there; let the murderer die outside with his blasphemies; and if you be a Joseph of Arimath├Ža, beg the Body from him that crucified Him, make your own that which cleanses the world. If you be a Nicodemus, the worshiper of God by night, bury Him with spices.

Baptism has united us to this mystery, and we are called to live differently now.
Bishop St. Andrew of Crete says this: So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

These blessed palms are nice, but you are much more important for the Christian message. These branches by the way, can be a great evangelization tool. Give them away and tell people what they mean, what happened here this weekend. Explain to them that they are always welcome here to worship God. He is always waiting for them. That is your baptismal mission: to make this story our own, a living story that carries on today. Amen.

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