Beginning today, the Church gathers in great cathedrals and country chapels
to commemorate the holiest week in all of human history
a week that begins in triumph…and ends in agony.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the loud cries of acclamation and shouts of joy
of the great crowd of people who welcomed Him as their king.
All the while, He knew that, in just four short days,
that same crowd would cry out…no longer “Hosanna!”...but “Crucify Him!”
Triumph of a merely human kind takes place today as crowds revel and rejoice.
But all that must give way to the Cross,
so that the Savior might display to the world the real meaning of triumph:
by His wounds we are healed…in His Passion love truly triumphs.
Today the Church throughout the world contemplates the scene at Calvary.
For us who believe in and love Jesus, the Cross stands as the model of perfect love.
The Cross is also a compelling challenge to us:
if we take the Cross of Jesus seriously…
we see in it just how much we are loved by God
and …at the same…the love we are called to imitate as his disciples.
Seeing how much God loves us…even unto death…
can we confidently say that we have always striven to love
as passionately as our Savior?
From the pulpit of Cross Jesus challenges us:
this is love…this is your vocation…this is how you must love
if you are to enjoy life to the fullest and belong to me forever.
As weak human persons, we do not ever want to be challenged.
Complacency is easy. Comfort is desirable. Resisting change is our pathetic ideal.
Each of us is in a different place on our journey of faith.
Many of us have been Catholics our whole lives and take the faith for granted.
Some of us gathered here today are preparing for Baptism.
The vibrancy and zeal of converts reminds us of what we have, right in our midst.
At Easter, our newly baptized will receive the Eucharist with us for the first time.
As you prepare for this holy Sacrament, consider the sacredness of the Eucharist.
In the Mass, we receive the same broken Body and poured out Blood
of the same Jesus who was crucified for our salvation.
The Passion of Jesus is re-presented for us in every Mass.
The Mass is not a re-enactment of the Last Supper
but an experience of being drawn into the Passion.
We see the Host and we are taken to the foot of the Cross,
where Jesus pours Himself out for us, empties His life that we might have life!
We are called to gaze upon the sacred Host…
and to contemplate the Altar of the Cross
to pause in adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
and to feel the love of Calvary.
In this we truly come to know Christ…in this we know what it means to live!
Looking at the perfect image of love, we consider how deeply we have loved
and where our lives must change so that Christ may live in us.
Look, my dear friends, at the host, and see the Savior who died on the Cross.
Adore Him…follow him…
accept His challenge to love as He has loved…and live!