Homily ·Lent
By Archbishop Gomez
April 17, 2011

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1

In this celebration of the Holy Eucharist, we have entered into the week of our salvation.

Our lives as Catholics flow from the events we remember today and in the days that follow in this Holy Week leading to Easter.

Jesus‘ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, his Last Supper, his agony in the Garden, his passion and death on the cross, his Resurrection — these events changed the course of world history.

These events changed the destiny of each one of our lives. They made it possible for us to be born again, to live for God and for love, and to share in the joy of the world to come.

Blessed John Henry Newman said: “In the cross and him who hung upon it, all things meet. ... The cross is the center and interpretation of all things.”2

The cross is now the measure of the world. We must interpret everything in our lives, everything in our Church and in our world, in the light of cross and in the light of Christ. The cross is now the measure of our lives.

That is why the liturgy today makes each of us participants in this historic drama.

Every year, as we come to Holy Week, we have to place ourselves at the center of the events of Jesus‘ passion and death. We have to ‘live’ it, not only to watch it!

We have to see ourselves as the ones waving palm branches and singing hymns of joy. We are the ones who shout, Hosanna! And Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

And sadly sometimes we are the ones who later will mock him in his agony. We are the ones who cry out, Let him be crucified!

My brothers and sisters, the liturgy is so personal today because each of us must make a personal decision about Jesus Christ and his cross.

These are good things for us to reflect upon in these days leading up to Easter.

Let us try in this Holy Week to accept our own weaknesses. Let us make an act of humility and ask our good God for his grace — to be always faithful to our Christian vocation.

My friends, in our contemplation it is important that we remember: Our Lord gave his life on the cross because he wanted to do it! He said: “I lay down my life. ... No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”3

Jesus loved us to the end. He came to do God‘s will, to be obedient to God‘s purposes for him.

He came into this world with the words of the psalm on his lips: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me. ... Lo, I have come to do your will.”4

And he left this world by making his life — his Body and Blood — into a perfect sacrifice. In all things, he conformed his will to our Father's will.

Today we hear his prayer in his Agony in the Garden: “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

This is the same prayer he taught his disciples to pray every day, the Our Father: “Thy will be done.”5

This is the prayer the Jesus gave us. And this is how we must live, my friends. By the pattern of his cross. No longer for ourselves, but living now only for the love of God and the love of others in God.

The great St. Rose of Lima said: “Apart from the cross there is no ladder by which we may go to heaven.”6

By following the way of his cross, with his grace we can conquer sin and death in our lives, and gain his Resurrection.

So in this Holy Week, let us renew our desire to accept the crosses that he sends to us in our lives. Let us embrace the way of the cross as the pattern for our lives.

Let us follow him along the way of his cross. Let us follow him along this way that leads to the Resurrection and the heavenly Jerusalem.

And let us ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to teach us how to remain constant, how to struggle in little things, and how to grow continually in our love for Jesus.

May she be close to our side as we try to live well this Holy Week, contemplating the passion, death and Resurrection of her Son.

1. Procession: Matt. 21:1–11. Readings (Passion Sunday, Year A): Isa. 50:4–7; Ps. 8–9, 17–20, 23–24; Phil. 2:2–11; Matt. 26:14–27:66;

2. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 6, ser. 7.

3. John 10:17–18.

4. Matt. 26:42; Luke 22:42; Matt. 6:10

5. Matt. 26:42; Luke 22:42; Matt. 6:10

6. Catechism, 618.

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