Saturday, March 28, 2015

Homily for Palm Sunday (Year B)

In the 20th century the story of Holy Week was turned into a play—perhaps you've seen “Jesus Christ Superstar.” But the idea to make the story of Christ's Passion into a musical predates Andrew Lloyd Weber by many centuries:

♬ Ho-san-na to the son of David....
From the Entrance into to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the haunting events of Good Friday:
♬ Crucify him, Crucify him!
To the glories of Easter that we celebrate at the Vigil:
♬ A...
… well, I don't want to sing the “A”-word during Lent, but you know I mean.

This week we have a chance to watch this drama unfold before our very eyes (and ears). On Holy Thursday Christ will institute the Priesthood and the Eucharist at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, at 7:00pm. On Good Friday, Christ will die for our salvation, here at 2pm and at St. Bridget's Church, with chanted Passion, at 7pm. And at the glorious Easter Vigil, beginning at 8pm at the end of Holy Saturday, Christ will rise again from the dead.

We will all participate in the sacred drama. Whether you choose to come to these beautiful Holy Week liturgies or not, we will all play a role in this sacred drama, because it is the drama of our lives and of our eternity. And thankfully, it's still early enough to try out for a good part in the play. There are several different parts to choose from.

You could sign up to be a member of the fickle crowd. These are the extras who hold up their palm branches when Jesus comes into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but who turn away when following Him becomes inconvenient. This role requires very little commitment, and most people who play these parts do not even bother to show up for the weekly rehearsal. Unfortunately, they usually do not get invited to the cast party afterwards, and their children rarely take an interest in theater.

But there are also some speaking parts, which require a lot of hard work. For example, in the script we just read we heard Christ say to the disciples, “Your faith will be shaken.” To really be able to “get into character” you may have to submit to some very unpleasant experiences.

Or you could play the part of one of the faithful women. They don't get top billing, but they do get to share the stage with Jesus in the most memorable scene.

If you're anxious about your role in the play, don't worry: although our Director has very high standards, He's also very forgiving.

So think about which part you'd like to play this year—and beg God to help you remember your lines.

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