Palm Sunday Homily ©, April 14th, 2019:
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, described Jesus Christ as “a mighty savior, born of the house of His Servant, David”(Luke 1:69). Jesus is also a humble and loving Savior, who offers Himself to His Father to reverse everything Adam did in disobedience.
St. Paul tells us that Jesus “…did not regard equality with God something to be grasped”(Phil 2:6). It was Adam (and Eve) who submitted to Satan’s assertion that “…you will be like gods, who know good and evil”(Gen 3:5). To make things right between us and God, Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, rejects pride and self-exaltation. Instead, Jesus “…emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,…(Phil 2:7). Jesus empties Himself of His equality with God. Jesus then took on Himself Adam’s slavery to corruption and sin. Jesus then “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross”(Phil 2:8). St. Paul writes to the Philippian church that Jesus embraces humility and selflessness and those two qualities led to His Passion and death. St. Paul then writes that God the Father (of Jesus Christ) then “greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,…”(Phil 2:9). Jesus stooped down to pick us up so we could live. Now, those who suffer and die for the faith can expect resurrection and new life when Jesus returns.
In today’s gospel, Jesus offers Himself as the new Paschal Lamb when He declared the bread and the wine as His Own Body and Blood (Luke 22:19-20). The Church understands this as Eucharist. It signifies a new covenant which signifies union between God and man. Once Jesus has done this, He then tells His apostles, His first priests, to do what He has just done in remembrance of Him. To “do this in memory of me”(Luke 22:20), means the priests are to conduct the ritual and the self-gift of Jesus’s Body and Blood which the ritual makes into a sacrament. This is to be done until the end of time to keep us in this new covenant which Jesus so humbly, lovingly, and obediently enacted for us and for God His Father.
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