Spirit in the City

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Mass Times

  Sacred Heart St. Paul's Kateri Centre
 Sunday 09:30 AM 11:00 AM 11:00 AM
 Monday - Friday 08:30 AM
11:30 AM*
 Saturday 09:30 AM  -

*  Except Mondays


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The Church is a master of drama in the liturgies of this week.There are two parades described in the two Gospels for this Palm Sunday’s liturgy. This entrance into Jerusalem was an act of superb bravado.  Yesterday at daily mass we heard the crowds questioning, “He surely will not go up to Jerusalem for the festival will he?” Everyone including Jesus knew that the authorities were plotting to kill him.

He was coming onto center stage. This was high noon. There was a price on His head. He was an outlaw wanted dead or alive. They would be searching  for Him. But He was not about to go into that dark, dark night quietly. We could view Him as doing a foolish thing as He enters the city of His arrest, suffering, and death.

This leads to the other picture where Jesus leaves Jerusalem days later in disgrace and abandoned. The story is not only the story of Jesus. It’s also a story about the action and inaction of Jesus’ disciples. Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus asked two of them if they could drink from the cup he would drink, and endure the baptism he would receive. In the Passion account, Judas, Peter and finally the rest of the Twelve, fail the test and abandon Jesus.

The Liturgy of Palms and the Liturgy of the Passion clearly state the duality of our human response to God throughout history. We all become part of the action. Most of us feel embarrassed to cry "Crucify Him" with the palm branches still in our hands. We feel like hypocrites. Sometimes we welcome him in and other times we push him away.

The seventeenth century Dutch genius Rembrandt painted a  crucifixion. At the foot of His cross are the figures of scripture. However, off in a corner of the masterpiece is the face of an uncomfortable intruder. It is Rembrandt. He was reminding himself that he too because of his sins was responsible for the painful death of his Saviour.

We should borrow a brush from Rembrandt and paint our faces into the passion picture. We have much more to do with it than we care to admit. When we turn our back on love we reject God who is love.





We see in these disciples’ lives, images of ourselves. Often our love for Jesus has compelled us to make some commitment of heart, only to discover soon after that our good intentions have been abandoned due to our human weakness, or due to concern about what others think. Betrayal, infidelity, abandonment!

Which is the greater pain? That of the body or the soul? The ancient world believed that the soul, not the body, feels pain and suffering, and the greater pain was the betrayal, infidelity and ultimately even abandonment rather than physical wound. Those standing near the cross heard these words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabacthani?" Christians throughout the centuries have puzzled about these words: How could Jesus - who is God - feel abandoned by God? Of all the words attributed to Jesus on the cross in all four Gospels, this has the highest claim to authenticity. It is preserved in the oldest tradition. It was offensive to the later evangelists, Luke and John, who substituted more harmless words for it. The cry certainly expresses the scandal of the cross more profoundly than anything else. Dietrich Bonhoeffer - a Christian pastor imprisoned and executed by the Nazis - wrote about the reality of Jesus' desolation on the cross. Jesus took upon himself our sins and he experienced the worst consequence of sin: separation from God.

It states what Paul expressed when he said that “God made him Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. May this alienation from God which scandalizes us in reflection on the cross, motivate us to strive to overcome sin in our lives.
You are here: Sunday Homily LENT 6TH B APRIL 1 2012