- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for April 10, 2022 – Palm Sunday

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

Palm Sunday

(Isaiah 50: 4 – 7; Ps 22; Phil 2: 6 – 11; Luke 22: 14 – 23: 56)

In listening to St. Luke’s account of the Lord’s passion and death, we hear again of Jesus’ horrendous suffering and as someone noted “His ghastly death”. And in all this pain and terrible suffering our God reveals His love, a love like no other – in reality, beyond our words, beyond any description, infinitely beyond our comprehension. In revealing His love “to the end” – to quote Jesus’ own words – our God shows Himself as a beggar – the Divine Beggar.

In his commentary on St. Matthew’s gospel Fr. Simeon – a Trappist of Spencer abbey – writes: “…love, especially divine Love (because it is so radical) always is a beggar, and God’s love, extreme and uncompromising like no other, begs for our faith and love in the most extreme manner, by revealing to us the wounds the eternal Son has sustained on our behalf.” – certainly, an inspired insight.

Our God calls us, invites us, truly begs us to open our hearts to His Word, to the Holy Eucharist, to Himself for our good, our eternal good. God has no need, His divinity does not depend on you/me but we have need of Him, a need deep within us, a need, a desire, a hunger that is a divine gift from God’s heart to our own.

Sadly, this need, this hunger can be overshadowed. Our Baptismal life calls us to flee from selfishness, in fact, to detest (a strong word) all narrowness, all evil even though, sadly, they can give us pleasure, control – like a god. We can hang on to them, feed them like the rich man in the Gospel taken up with his wealth, his harvest – these so-called riches that he could not take with him when death came – “a fool” as he is named in the Gospel.

On this Palm Sunday – actually on each day, let us pray to be enlightened, to see the Crucified Christ as our Divine Beggar who begs us to live a life of union with Him – the life for which we have been created – the life He begs us to receive and willingly bestows on us through His passion and death.

As I was preparing this homily, a prayer came to my mind that was said at the end of each Station of the Cross in my home parish – perhaps it was the custom in yours: “Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us, have mercy on us O Lord, have mercy on us.” It was and is a prayer of begging – prayed because in our hearts we knew the Lord Himself was begging us to receive His mercy and so He does at every moment. “Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us, have mercy on us O Lord, have mercy on us.”