Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday word, 24 Mar 2013

Staying Near
Passion (Palm) Sunday6 (24 Mar 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
We stood at the gates of Jerusalem as the Messiah King entered it. Our hearts are those very gates. How did we welcome the Messiah King? He is a very unlikely king, unlike the messiahs for which we long, not to mention Jesus’ contemporaries.

We stand at the gates of Jerusalem because Jesus desires to enter our hearts and take possession of us. How do we respond today? Perhaps we might be like Peter and announce our faith with our lips but refuse to allow our hearts to own him in his suffering. Perhaps that is our typical struggle. Take courage because Jesus never disavowed Peter. Jesus sought him ought to restore him and build his church on him and his brother apostles.

What is your role in the Messiah’s Passion? Third-century bishop Gregory of Nazianzen suggested that each of us participate in it by finding who we are. I cannot improve on his suggestion to help us find ourselves:

“If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who has hung upon the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase your salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there. . .
“If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make you own the expiation of sins for the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.”1

Entering his passion opens onto his resurrection. Take up your cross and follow Jesus through your darkness into the light and the life Jesus desires to give you. Stay close to Jesus. Feel what he feels. Breathe with him. Weep with him. Pray with him.

Mature praise has a serving texture. Jesus’ service on the cross completed his mission to announce the reign of God in word and deed. We are united by baptism in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That means what we do is our role in his passion as much as it is in his resurrection. In serving, evangelizing, worship, personal praying and living our vocations, we take our crosses and follow our Messiah through our darkness into the light and the life Jesus desires to give us and through us to the world.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Enter the heart of our triune God, who desired from their eternity to save the human race.2
  • Ask those who hailed Jesus as King to present you to Jesus.
  • In your words praise Jesus as your King.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to guide you in personal darkness to be a source of his risen light and life to others.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His prayer becomes our personal connection with Jesus, who transforms how we live and how we move through life.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. From his homily, Oratio 45, in Office of Readings, Liturgy of the Hours for Fifth Lenten Saturday.
  2. Ignatius described the divine desire in his Contemplation on the Incarnation in his Spiritual Exercises, [102].
Wiki-images by Berthold Werner of part of the Via Dolorosa and by adriatikus of present stairs to Golgotha used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

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