Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday - homily

In the first youth group I served, one of the teens with whom I became good friends was a girl named Shannon. We've stayed in touch over the years and I served at her wedding. She married her high school sweetheart, Craig, when she was 24. Tragedy struck three years later; they got into a very serious car accident. Craig died at the scene and Shannon barely survived. She has made a miraculous physical recovery.

We spoke a year after the accident and she was not doing well at all, as you can imagine. She said, "the hardest thing with all of this is that I have no one to talk to who understands. There aren't many 27 year old widows". She was in such pain. I listened to her some more, and then said, "there is one person who knows what you're going through: Jesus". I then explained what the Lord said from the Cross: "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus was not forsaken or abandoned by the Father. God abandons no one. But, many people feel abandoned by God...or a parent...or a husband..or wife...or members. They feel abandoned, lonely, isolated, or rejected. Mother Teresa taught that this is the worst human pain. Jesus entered into all of that on the Cross. He united Himself to all those who feel this way. I said to Shannon, "Jesus knows what you are going through and you know what He went through. You are right there with Him on the Cross". She said it was one of two most powerful conversations she has ever had. Hopefully, it helped her in her healing process.

Christ is always one with the Father. But, when he enters into his Passion, he feels the separation from Him that some people feel. He experiences everything we do except sin. Everything, even being abandoned by God...of all things!

As we come into union with the Lord in the Eucharist tonight and as we celebrate the events of Holy Week - the events of our salvation - let us unite our suffering with Christ as He united His suffering with ours.

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