Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday word, 29 Mar 15

Seeing Ourselves
Passion (Palm) Sunday of the Lord B (29 Mar 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Before mass we stood at the gates of Jerusalem as the Messiah King entered them. Our hearts are those very gates. How did we welcome the Messiah King? He is a very unlikely king. He was not the messiah longed for by his contemporaries; he entered their lives just the same.

Today each one’s heart is Jerusalem’s gates. Today Jesus desires to enter our hearts and abide in us. His selfless love moves us to consider ourselves. Perhaps someone is like Peter: ready to announce the faith with lips but refuses to allow one’s heart to own Jesus in his suffering. If that is anyone’s struggle, take courage: Jesus never disavowed Peter. Jesus sought him out to restore him and build his church on him and his brother apostles.

Third-century bishop, Gregory of Nazianzen, suggested each of us can find ourselves in our Messiah’s Passion. I cannot improve on his suggestion to help us:

“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…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 [yours] the [atonement] 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

In Jesus’ Passion is every sort of atmosphere of prayer: darkness; light; fear; forgiveness; pleading; denying and recognizing; fleeing and following; watching; wondering; praising.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in the Trinity, who desired from their eternity to save the human race.2
  • Ask those who hailed Jesus as King to present you to Jesus.
  • Speak to Jesus: praise him 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: he 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]

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