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Homily - April 2, 2023

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord (Year A)

April 2, 2023. Is.50:4-7; Phil.2:6-11; Mt.26:14-27:66.

“Who is Jesus, and why did he have to die?”

Does anyone know what a Kinkajou is? It is an animal, which is related to the racoon family and can be found in the wild in southern Mexico. It has a strong tail it can use to hang from a tree limb; it has sharp claws and sharp teeth. A lady in Florida, instead of a dog or cat, decided to have a kinkajou, as a pet. Indeed, it was a cute, cool little pet when it was small, but when it experienced puberty for the first time, it went berserk. It tried to eat its own tail and tear itself to pieces. The family was bitten and scratched when it tried to save the wild little creature from destroying itself. You may wonder why the family would subject itself to such an ordeal to save this little animal. The important answer is this: it was a wild animal and its nature showed itself at its mature stage of life. The loving and caring nature of this family who loved its pet also showed itself in their efforts to save this wild kinkajou from destroying itself. This is because the nature of the wild animal conflicted with the nature of the caring family.

Life Message: We just heard the story of Jesus giving his life for us. Many times, I have been asked this question: “Who is Jesus, and why did he have to die?” The reason goes back to the fact that it was in his nature to save us and he couldn’t stop doing everything he was trying to do to lead us to salvation. “Christ Jesus… did not regard equality with God…Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the Cross…” (Phil. 2:6-11). Despite all this, there are elements in our nature that are driven by selfishness, pride, jealousy, cruelty, and all kinds of attitudes and behaviors that work against God’s desire to save us. In other words, in Jesus’ Passion Narrative, we saw intense and pure love on the part of Jesus (that was his nature to be that way), and we saw the dark side of human nature working against him and trying to destroy him.

Conclusion: However, because it is in Jesus’ nature to love, he continues to reach out to us in love. He speaks to us each week in the scriptures, and nourishes us by feeding us with his own body and blood. And he willingly shares his Spirit with us so that we can continue to live and love more like he does as we stumble along making our way to eternal happiness. Therefore, Jesus is the lowly Messiah, the beast of burden, who carries the weight of human sin to the absolution of the Cross, through which we can achieve God’s glorious reign of Justice, peace, and love. In short, we in this age of the loss of the sense of sin, have the coming Holy Week to settle this matter of sin decisively between ourselves and our Messiah-Savior.

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