Saturday, April 13, 2019

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

I would like to welcome you all to the discomfort of another Holy Week. In Matthew’s gospel reading of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, he says that when Jesus “entered into Jerusalem the whole city was shaken (in turmoil)”… The Greek word here literally means to shake or to quake, as in an earthquake. Matthew likes this word. He will use it to describe the shaking of the earth and the splitting of the rocks at Jesus’ crucifixion; at the earthquake that accompanies the angel rolling the stone away from Jesus’ tomb and the shaking of the guard who stood at the tomb.

Holy Week is meant to be one earthquake after another. On Monday Mary will pour costly oil on Jesus’ feet and everyone in the house will be shaken with dismay. (Why is she wasting this costly oil!) On Tuesday, Peter (and each one of us) will hear Jesus’s invitation to die before we die. And that invitation becomes the epicenter of our faith. On Wednesday Judas’ betrayal will reveal the fault line that runs through each one of us. On Thursday we will tremble at the intimacy of touching, washing and kissing one another’s feet. On Friday the earth will quake as the cross of our God and Savior is plunged into the heart of the earth. The silence of Holy Saturday will cause the gates of hell to shudder and burst open.

The shaking, turmoil and destruction of Holy Week is meant to be real for each one of us. Somewhere in each of our lives we need the triumphant turmoil of Christ. We all need the devastation of anything that keeps us from being fully ourselves, fully alive as God’s beloved children. The turmoil of this day and this week is really Christ’s earth shaking entrance into our world and our lives. A Blessed Earth-shaking Holy Week to you all.

Entry into Jerusalem by Giotto; Father Abbot's Homily for Palm Sunday, 2017.