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Palm Sunday

In 13 Today's Church on 2015/03/27 at 12:00 AM
  • Perhaps more than any other day or feast of the year, Palm Sunday shows forth the absolute fickleness of human nature.
  • At one moment we are waving palms and proclaiming: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” And shortly thereafter we yell “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” all in response to the meek and humble Jesus, who is both victim and priest.
  • This day reminds us that mankind is capable of great love and devotion, as well as great evil. Thus, Palm Sunday proves the point of Jeremiah the prophet, who wrote that: “more tortuous than all else is the human heart” (Jeremiah 17:9).
  • The human heart is tortuous because of sin. In making this statement, Jeremiah was reminding us of how man’s passions can get out of control – inducing man to sin, and ultimately, leading man to misery.
  • While sin brings misery to us, sin is nonetheless attractive to those who are tempted, at least on some level. It glitters like fool’s gold, promising pleasure and freedom.
  • Yet beyond the fleeting moments of pleasure that sin provides, is the sobering reality that we have done something wrong, that we have in some way offended our Lord, that we are now a worse person because of our sin.
  • And if we continue to fall into the same sin over and over, then not only do we suffer the pains of shame and guilt, but we also can become enslaved by the sin – trapped in a vicious cycle of repeating the offense, even when we don’t fully want to do so.
  • Or worse yet, we can become inured and hardened to our sin, not even consciously realizing that our actions are sinful!
  • All of this, my brothers and sisters, is the burden of sin.
  • Of course the ultimate burden of sin is borne by Christ, as we heard in our Gospeltoday. Christ was “pierced for our sins, crushed for iniquity. . . . the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all” (Isaiah 53:5‐6). But Christ is not the only victim of our sins.
  • Sin hurts us too, whether we recognize the pain or not. Beyond the natural consequences that our sins bear, there are spiritual consequences, which can be much more serious and long lasting.
  • This is because all sin ruptures our relationship with God, with the Church, and with one another. The more serious our sin, the more serious the rupture.
  • If our sin is mortal, then the rupture it forges in our relationship with God and His Church is so severe as to preclude us from Holy Communion until we repent and go to Confession. If we die in a state of mortal sin, our sin precludes us from Heaven.
  • Some try to assuage the burden of sin by denying that their sinful acts are indeed sinful.
  • Rejecting traditional Judeo‐Christian values as outdated, old‐fashioned, and archaic, many people simply deny that those sins they want to commit are really sins at all.
  • Instead of alleviating the burden of sin by rejecting their sinful behaviors and repenting, some whole‐heartedly embrace their sins and reject the truth about the sinfulness of their actions.
  • Dismissing the laws of God and determining for themselves what is right and wrong, so many people turn away from God and His Church, not to mention objective reality.
  • The Pharisees of Jesus day are a prime example, but certainly not the only example.
  • Moreover, many of us are guilty of excusing sin as simply a matter of “being human.” But that’s not completely true. While man, in his weakness, is prone to sin because of concupiscence, God did not create us to be sinners.
  • Keep in mind that our Blessed Mother never committed a single sin in her life, and yet that did not make her less human! To the contrary, she’s more perfectly human!
  • Brothers and sisters, we are not sinners simply because we are human. God has created humanity for holiness.
  • While we may be predisposed to sin because of the wound of original sin, the fact of the matter is that we are all sinners because we choose to sin. We sin by choosing to misuse the gift of our free will.
  • I say this because I never want you to believe that sin is something that we should ever accept or try to compromise with sin. Sin must be avoided at all cost.
  • There can be no peace accord with sin, because all sin is always destructive, always misleading, always regrettable. Thus, in dealing with our personal sins there must be no compromise, no surrender, no turning back!
  • Indeed, as we consider the burden that sin places upon the sinner – the wounds, the guilt, the self‐loathing, the slavery – we must remind ourselves that sin is hellish by its very nature.
  • And if we think our sins our burdensome now, that burden will be felt with much greater force and intensity in eternity if we do not seek to be free of our sins while we live on earth!
  • Today we enter into Holy Week. We call this week holy because of the nature of the Paschal Mystery, which we commemorate and experience anew in our liturgies this week.
  • But as we dwell upon the mysteries of our redemption this week, we should strive to become holy ourselves! Holy Week isn’t just about celebrating holy things; it’s also about becoming holy!
  • May we all come to know the ways in which we have scourged and crucified our Lord by our sins; and by the merits of Christ’s passion and death, may we all be given the humility and courage we need to repent of our sins and be relieved of their burden.

24 March 2013 © Reverend Timothy Reid Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio. To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date. Link to Homilies: http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

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