Homily for the Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Preached on March 19-20, 2016 at Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church, Morehead KY
Readings: Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56
In the Gospel according to Luke, faith is not a noun; it is a verb. It requires action, movement, going from one place to another. Anyone in this Gospel who is filled with the Holy Spirit is on his or her feet and is headed somewhere.
Thus, Mary, full of grace (cf. Lk. 1:28), set out, proceeding in haste to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (cf. Lk. 1:39-40). The shepherds left the fields to pay homage to the newborn king in Bethlehem (cf. Lk. 2:15-17). Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil” (cf. Lk. 4:1-2). Simon Peter and Andrew, and James and John left everything and followed the Lord (cf. Lk. 5:11). So did Levi; he got up and deserted his customs post (cf. Lk. 5:28). Zacchaeus came down from the sycamore tree to receive Jesus in his home (cf. Lk. 19:4-6). The prodigal son abandoned the pigsty and went back to his father (cf. Lk. 15:20).
Those in the Gospel who had no faith were stuck in a rut. They did not go anywhere. They would not budge. The older son refused to enter the house; his father had to come out and plead with him to join the party (cf. Lk. 15:28). The people of Nazareth stayed in town after they drove Jesus out (cf. Lk. 4:29-30). The man who fell victim to robbers was left for dead in a ditch (cf. Lk. 10:30). The rich man could not be bothered to leave his seat and share his food with Lazarus; he just let his scraps fall from his table (cf. Lk. 16:19-21).
Luke the evangelist is clear: faith demands that we leave our comfort zones and get moving because we are headed somewhere other than here. We are a people with a destiny and a destination. It is Christ who leads us because He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). We have to follow Him, even when He takes us to the cross.
Therefore, “dear brothers and sisters, like the crowds who acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem, let us go forth in peace” (cf. Roman Missal, Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, no. 8).
Response: In the name of Christ. Amen.