Homily, Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020
This Holy week is unlike any other holy week that we will experience. Hopefully, it will focus us on what is truly essential: our relationship with God. In a real, stark and visible way, the coronavirus has caused us to slow down, realize our fragility and reexamine our priorities. It has forced us back to what is truly important, our faith. It has called us to abandon our lives to God and his providence. The Our Father is especially vital these days as we pray, ‘Thy will be done.’
So in Holy week, let us enter it ever more deeply and consciously praying for an end to this coronavirus. Let us meditate on the passion Gospels read today and on Good Friday and see their contrast. Hopefully, in the light of this plaque, we will see the link between what we celebrate in liturgy and how we live our lives. We echo the words of Christ on the cross who said, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.’
Love of God and neighbor is the great commandment. This Season, we are asked to love our neighbor in a different way. We do so by social distance, washing our hands, and changing our behavior according to requests of our leaders. But even though separate physically, we are united spiritually through our liturgies, prayers, and contact of a technical nature.
There was a movie called the long Good Friday and we are living it. And in a sense, our resurrection will come, not on Easter Sunday, but later on in the Easter season, when we come together in the heavenly liturgy. But it’s so important that we still mark Holy week, more than ever, as it clearly presents us with the actual events of the dying and rising of Jesus. Even though we are not physically together, we are united in a very special, mysterious way. That’s the power of the liturgy. These liturgies enable us to experience in our lives here and now what Jesus went through then. In other words, what we commemorate and relive during this week is not just Jesus’ dying and rising, but our own dying and rising in Him, which result in our healing, and redemption. Just as Jesus did, we too must lay down our lives freely by actively participating in the Holy Week liturgies even at home. And we can do that by entering into our Livestream liturgies with an act of spiritual communion. And you keep Holy Week in your homes through prayer and reading the passion accounts in the gospel.
Proper participation in the Holy Week liturgies will also deepen our relationship with God, increase our faith and strengthen our lives as disciples of Jesus. But let us remember that Holy Week can become “holy” for us only if we actively and consciously take part in the liturgies of this week. There is an old saying, ‘The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.’ If we keep these days well then we will, even in these difficult times, experience Christ’s peace and new life in us.
So let us begin our holy week.