Palm Sunday
A Homily - Cycle B - 2011-2012
by Fr. Luke Dundon

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First Reading - Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading - Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel - Mark 14:1-15:47

Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.

As I was finishing my time in high school, two thoughts were floating through my mind . . . enter the Navy?  Or perhaps follow the faint hint that I was supposed to be a priest . . . it was a strange mix, but I found comfort in what my parents told me - - - no matter what you choose, Luke remember we always LOVE YOU!!!!  Ah, comforting words . . .

You know one of the greatest experiences in the universe?  To be loved.  It’s a basic human need, we CAN love because we ARE loved.  Family, friends, they’re more than people we ENCOUNTER in our lives - - - they’re an integral component of our HUMANITY.  It’s a great feeling, it’s a great comfort, it’s a source of Peace . . . just KNOWING that you have family or friends who love you is ITSELF an anchor.  But sometimes the anchor drifts, the chain becomes strained, and can even snap.  Jesus meets people who initially love Him, they praise Him, they’re throwing down their cloaks on the ground and crying, “Hosanna in the highest to the Son of David!”  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  We LOVE you, Lord!  Until a few days pass, and then all we hear are “Crucify Him!”  People who loved Jesus have turned on Him, the apostles are soon to follow, so whom does He have to turn to?  The same one we all turn to when we’re really sacred or alone, He turns to family, He turns to His Father.  Not just a Father in an abstract or esoteric way, but HIS Father, His Dad, His ABBA, also translated “Daddy.”  Since when does a grown man call his father “daddy?”  Perhaps if that grown man is about to encounter the biggest torment ever in his life, the abandonment of his closest friends, the most grievous shame ever lived, as God’s only-begotten Son takes on Himself all the sins of the world, including . . . my own.  More than ever before, Jesus would need the love of someone quite strong, and so He wisely turns to His Father, His Dad, His . . . Daddy.

And yet, in all the mystery of God’s amazing, self-giving Love, Jesus also accepted what His “Daddy” wanted of Him.  He needed His Son to go from Hero to Zero, from King to Criminal, from the Son of the Most High to the Son of Sorrow and Sadness . . . even His own Father, His ABBA, offers Him not Mercy, but JUSTICE . . . no WONDER He cried some of the hardest words to come from his mouth - - - My God, My God, WHY have you abandoned me?  You are my God, my FATHER, my ABBA . . . WHY?  What have I done?  The one who has loved Jesus for all eternity, ALSO seems to have abandoned Him!  Jesus has given Himself completely in total love for humanity . . . but now He feels abandoned, rejected, alone . . . and so He quotes Psalm 22, “WHY have you abandoned me?”

Did God really abandon His only-begotten Son?  Did the God who IS Love, momentarily FORGET that love?  Or, perhaps . . .  it’s a sign of how much God did FOR us, in paying the price for our sins, and Jesus’ cry from the cross is proof of that . . . Psalm 22 cries out from the pain we experience as a result of sin, but thanks be to God, the psalm ENDS with a word of praise and thanksgiving! 

We see proof today of the fact that our King knows our deepest need to be loved, and so He freely offers that Love to us, NO MATTER WHAT.  No matter what, I will ALWAYS love you, even if I have to give up my only Son - - - that’s a powerful reminder!  In our prayers, our thoughts and deeds this week, may our response to Him be simple - - - Lord, I love you too!!!

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