Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's all about the Cross (Palm Sunday homily)

On Palm Sunday, some priests don’t give a homily, 
because the readings are so long and intense.

But I want to offer some brief thoughts, if only to give you a breather.

So I offer you this to consider: there is no Christianity without the Cross.

If we try to talk about Jesus Christ only in terms of teaching, or healing, or kindness – 
without the Cross – we’re not talking about Jesus, but someone else entirely.

It’s all about the cross and our need for Christ. 
And that’s what our whole Lent has been about.
So – if you’ve come this far and not had a good Lent? Start now. 

Now, I might have made a different point: 
that just as Christ makes no sense without the Cross, 
so humanity makes no sense without God. 
Without God, we have no anchor, 
nothing to hold onto but our own uncertain selves. 

Yet that is what our contemporary society is trying to do: 
to understand ourselves without God. 

It won’t work; it will end in grief; but we’re trying all the same. 
By the way: this fully explains 
the growing conflict between what our Catholic Faith asks of us, 
and what the world insists is true.

Now, the world has one good indictment of God. 
We see human suffering and we want to know: where is God? 
It’s a question that haunts us.

Yet, without God, the suffering remains. Pushing him aside doesn’t help. 
There seems no way out!

This is why the one word 
God wanted to speak to humanity is the Cross. 
God on the Cross.
Right in front of us.

Face it. Embrace it. This is the only hope we have. 

You don’t have to come on Holy Thursday or Good Friday or the Easter Vigil, 
but I invite you to come. This is the heart of our Faith. 


Jennifer said...

You are right. I have no life and no hope without Christ. I'm lucky to have learned this from personal experience, and I hope to be able to show my children by my example.

Bob said...

Thank you for giving people this to think about, Father.

I would think, too, that without the Cross, there is no Mass. Some of the hymnody we've been subjected to for 30+ years is severely lacking in mention of the Cross of Christ.

When I think about what the Mass is - and that the priest takes us to the foot of the Cross - which only he can do - it makes me stop and think.

Why would someone want to make the Mass anything other than that?

Fr Martin Fox said...


You hit the nail on the head. The Holy Mass IS the Cross -- made present to us in an unbloody fashion.

A lot of people don't really understand this. Many Catholics will say they believe it, but they don't think about the implications. Others will de-emphasize it.

Many have been taught their whole lives that Mass is a meal (which it is also) and they don't really get the part that it's the Cross. In their churches, the altar looks like a table and is treated like a table, with a tablecloth and flowers, and everyone gathers around it.

After the Second Vatican Council, there was a desire to emphasize the Mass as a meal. Unfortunately, some people seemed to think the Mass as a sacrifice part was done away with.