Al Majkrzak’s Homily from April 5, 2020

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies Leave a Comment

This is a different kind of day in the life of the church; a day with a split personality. We call it Palm / (slash) Passion Sunday. Our worship today reminds us of both the good times and the bad times of Jesus. Today we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem with crowds waving palms and shouting hosanna. The event has been described as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

We also recall today Jesus’s climb to Calvary with the shouts of crucify him coming from the same crowds.  This rapid change of circumstances must have aroused strong feelings in Jesus, which may partly explain why we heard in today’s gospel His cry of anguish, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

These days we may have strong feelings during this pandemic, which has changed our way of life in a short period of time. We now live in a time of social distancing, and rising rate of unemployment, infection and death caused by Covid 19. The sickness has changed our lives causing fear, isolation, anger and uncertainty about when it will end.  Some may even feel forsaken and abandoned by God.

This morning I want to remind you that there is nothing that we feel that Jesus didn’t feel. Nothing that we are experiencing that Jesus didn’t experience. Nothing that we are going through that Jesus didn’t go through.

Even though we remember his passion and death today we know the end of the story, Easter! Resurrection will come but it comes only after going through Good Friday. There’s no way around it, only through it.  This morning we’re reminded that we’re not alone; Jesus goes through it with us.

That’s why Paul in his letter to the Philippians wrote this about Jesus:

“……..being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross. Being in human form means that Jesus felt every emotion that we feel.

Paul also wrote: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,”

So what is the mind of Christ that will help us through this pandemic?  I think that knowing Christ’s mind during His suffering might provide some answers.

There are three things that Jesus did during his passion that can equip us as we live in these challenging times. They were all acts of love. 

The first is written in the Gospel of John in these words:  “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Hanging from the cross, Jesus cared about those he loved and he gave them to one another, creating a community of love.

In this painful time in our lives we can live in that community of love. Even in a time of social distancing we can reach out to others, we can write, and phone others and care for them. We can pray for doctors, nurses and all health care workers. We can be Christ to one another.

The second thing that Jesus did is written in the Gospel of Luke and describes Jesus’ reaction to his crucifixion.

“When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.  Then Jesus said, “Father/Mother God, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

During this time of social separation we can actually tear down walls that separate us from people in our lives by forgiving them. An unforgiving spirit not only separates us from others it builds a wall between us and God. 

This time may be the opportunity that each of us has to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.

The third was an act of trust and acceptance. Jesus in his pain, humiliation, and isolation prayerfully said these words.  “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” 

When Jesus said that He was quoting from Psalm 31 and the verse is sometimes translated as “Into your hand I entrust my life.” As he was dying, Jesus was entrusting His life to God.

He’s letting it all go, and entrusting it to God, because He believes that even in death, His life, will be in the best of hands when they are in the hands of God.

In this time of uncertainty and fear, our prayer can be an act of faith, giving all of our life into the hands of God.

There is a common thread in all of these acts of Jesus during his passion and crucifixion. That thread is God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit manifested in the spirit of love, the spirit of forgiveness and the spirit of faith and trust.

May we all be open to God’s Spirit during this time. May we trust in the words of St. Paul who wrote:

“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

Amen. So be it.

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