Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 9, 2017: Palm Sunday A

April 9, 2017: Palm Sunday A

Click to hear Audio Homily
If you were to get a phone call from your child at 3AM, what thoughts would go through your mind? A mother recalls answering a call from her son at three in the morning. As she answered the call, the son said, “Mama, I’m doing terrible things and I can’t stop. I’m gonna die.” The mother, who had a habit of sleeping with a rosary in her hands, calmly replied, “Yes, my son, you are going to die if you continue on the path you’re on. I pray that you choose life and not death, my son, but you’re the only one who can choose. I beg you to choose life. I’m praying for you. I love you.” With that, the call ended. She began to pray her rosary earnestly, particularly the Sorrowful Mysteries. As she prayed, she imagined Blessed Mother standing by the Cross silently as she witnessed her son die. The earthly mother who had watched her son struggle with drug addiction for some years, had come to realize that all she could do was to surrender herself and entrust her son to Our Lord.

There is a scene in the movie ‘Passion of Christ’ when Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. The next scene is a darkened room where Mary the Mother of Jesus is asleep. Then she awakes as if from a nightmare. She asks, “Why is this night different than any other night?” Mary Magdalene who awakes as well replies, “Because once we were slaves, and we are slaves no longer.” As we begin the holiest week for Christians with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, these lines spoken by Mary and Mary Magdalene foreshadow Our Lord as the New Moses who will lead us out of our bondage to sin in a New Passover. He is the New Passover Lamb whose blood shed on the Cross will deliver us from eternal death. And Blessed Mother models for us how to be a faithful disciple of Christ, by surrendering and placing all her trust in God in the midst of her son’s Passion and death.

All of us here struggle daily against the tendency to sin and to doubt God’s goodness and His mercy. We must be reminded that we must choose life and not choose death. If we continue to walk on the path of selfishness and sin, we remain slaves. In our daily struggles against sin, our encouragement comes from meditating on the sufferings and crucifixion of Our Lord. Jesus came to be one of us, to open the road to heaven for us, to make us all sons and daughters of God, to preach the message of divine forgiveness and mercy to mankind. He was scourged, tied to a pillar, spat upon and insulted, jeered at and mocked. He was nailed to a cross on Calvary between two thieves! As we gaze at the crucifix in our homes, on our rosary beads, and on our altars, we are reminded that he immerses himself into our misery and redeems our lowly human nature in order to elevate us to be children of God. He did this for us so that he can be with us every day, close beside us, to encourage and help us on the way.

Let us embark on this Holy Week accompanying Blessed Mother on the Way of the Cross to Calvary. Perhaps we could pray her Sorrowful Mysteries or pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary. As we pray, we console her as she weeps for many in our world who still do not know the love of her Son and what her Son has done for them. When we are burdened by sadness or a broken heart, let us hold the hands of Blessed Mother and ask her to not let go. In our deepest sadness, Blessed Mother meets us right there at Calvary. She tenderly cradles us in her arms and weeps with us when we so sorely need her help. She tells us as she told St. Juan Diego, “Am I not here, who am your mother?”