Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion - Sunday Mass - English - 04-05-20
Domingo de Ramos de la Pasión del Señor - Misa en español - 04-05-20
Fr. Gregerson's Sermon:
“Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die.” (John 12:31-33, RSVCE).
The Cross is not merely an instrument of torture or even of salvation. It is an invitation and an embrace. Christ spreads His arms wide in a loving embrace. He embraces the full meaning of what it means to be human, becoming subject even to death – a death he does not deserve. He does not deserve this death because He is innocent of the charge of which He is accused by the Jewish authorities, and because He deserves no death at all because all death is a consequence of sin, and He is the perfect, holy, and innocent one, the spotless lamb who goes silent before the shearers.
We hear today that Christ “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2, NAB). Christ poured Himself out on the Cross, poured out His life blood for you. But this was not the first time that He poured Himself out. He had been practicing for this moment during His entire earthly life. He poured Himself out by the humbleness of His birth, by the fasting and penance of 40 days in the dessert, by His sleepless nights of prayer with the Father, by the long, dusty, and dangerous roads walked with the disciples, by the cold nights in the Galilean countryside. Every day and in every way, He was pouring Himself out.
Christ embraces you from the Cross. He draws you to Himself. He does this so that you might imitate Him in pouring out your own life as well. We know that Christ died for us on the Cross out of loving compassion. But we often forget that this mystery is an invitation to live His own life and death. You are being invited today to pour yourself out in unexpected ways during unexpected times.
While these times are unexpected and the sufferings they bring are surprising, the reality they invite us to contemplate is both ever ancient and ever new. There is no Christianity without the Cross. In His crucifixion, Christ’s “constant care is not to please / But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, / And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.” (T.S. Eliot, “East Coker” IV).
We have always been sick. Perhaps it is only now that we truly know it. Sick of sin, sick of the ancient curse. The only cure will be to pour ourselves out like Christ, to let the sickness of suffering in this life grow worse for a while. We cannot be His disciples if we do not pour ourselves out upon the Cross.