Sunday, April 05, 2009

Palm Sunday - homily

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

A friend of mine named Shannon was one of the teenagers at the first youth group at which I helped in the early nineties. She and I hit it off right away and have stayed in touch over the years. She married Craig, the only man she ever dated. Three years into their beautiful marriage, they were in a tragic car accident. Craig died and Shannon miraculously survived. She has made an amazing physical and personal recovery.

About a year after the accident, Shannon said to me that the hardest thing about her situation was that there was no one she could talk to. There were no 27-year-old widows with whom she could relate. No one knew what she was going through. I said (more or less), “Shannon, Jesus knows what you’re going through. He experienced every human pain there is. He was not abandoned by the Father, but he united himself with all those who feel abandoned… lonely…isolated…or rejected. He knows what you are going through. You know what he went through. You are there with him on the cross. He is there with you.”

Shannon would say later that that conversation was one of the two most powerful conversations she’s ever had. Back in the youth group, she probably thought that none of this applied to her because she hadn’t really suffered. Just a few years later, it would completely apply to her. I got together with her not too long ago and she is doing well. Please pray for her.

To all of our young people here today and to all of our adults, please remember this. If you aren’t suffering now, tuck this away for when you are. When you feel abandoned… lonely…isolated…or rejected, please know that Jesus has experienced it. Mother Teresa said that this was his greatest pain. He is with you in your suffering. You are there with him on the Cross.

He was with us on the Cross. He is with us in the Eucharist. He tells us to come to him in the Eucharist. “Come to me all who labor and are burdened”. Come to me all who are abandoned…lonely…isolated…depressed…angry…discouraged…grieving…stressed. “Come to me… and I will give you rest”.

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