St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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March 24, 2013 - Palm Sunday Homily

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+JMJ

Homily Preparation Notes

Observations

-Jesus is performing a prophetic sign… doing something very determined, an act loaded with theological and prophetic meaning…

-He knows the atmosphere of his day… the way people are expecting any day now a Messiah to save them…

-He knows that his riding a colt into Jerusalem will fulfill his Heavenly Father's plan, simultaneously fulfilling the OT prophecy of Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the fall of and ass.”

-Perhaps some people in the crowd cheered him on, believing that he will establish an earthly rule, defeating his enemies by the sword once he enters into Jerusalem…

-But Zechariah 9:9 is followed immediately by other very significant words that show his people will be set free by a sacrifice in Jerusalem… not a sword wielded by Jesus

-Zechariah 9:11 “As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your captives free from the waterless pit”…

-So this Messiah is going to offer a sacrifice in Jerusalem, which involves the “blood of my covenant with you”… and the blood will free people from the waterless pit…

-impossible not to see the connection with what Jesus would do after he enters Jerusalem and arrives in the Upper Room where he will establish the Eucharist at the Last Supper…

-Luke 22:19-22 “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me… [and likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying] This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

-so this Triumphal Entry of Jesus shows that he is the Messiah, fulfilling scripture of Zechariah 9:9… but also that his triumph would not be by normal warfare with swords and shields, but by the blood of the covenant… and this is the Blood of the Eucharist instituted at the Last Supper, which is the Blood of the Cross on Good Friday…

-Isn't it beautiful that the “good thief” hanging on a cross next to Jesus recognizes–despite the failure so many see as they are gathered around Calvary–the good thief recognizes he is crucified next to a king who will be victorious: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

-As we remember his entry into Jerusalem today, heading towards his passion, may we perceive more deeply the mystery of his victory which first looks like the worst of failures…

-The blood of the New Covenant which Jesus enters into Jerusalem to pour out of His Heart for us is present for us once again today at this Holy Altar…

-Think of this: in his divinity, Jesus knew that you would be present today to receive his sacrificial blood first poured out at the Last Supper he was entering Jerusalem on a donkey to accomplish…… He saw you when he was entering into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday!

-How appropriate that we lay down our very lives before him at the beginning of each Holy Mass, like the cloaks which people threw down to beautify his way to Jerusalem…

 

St. Andrew of Crete, Sermon on Palm Sunday (from the Liturgy of Hours): "Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation.... let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish.... so let us lay before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then whither, 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."

 

 

Iustus germinabit sicut lilium: et florebit in aeternum ante Dominum.
-- Gospel Acclamation, Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19

Eucharistic Quotes

"The greatest love story of all times is contained in a tiny white Host."

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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