My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today we are entering into the holiest of weeks, the week of our redemption.
As St. John Paul II said, “Holy Week is the great Sunday of the Christian year.”
And as we hear the accounts of Jesus’ passion, we must remind ourselves that he suffered this cruel and unusual violence for us.
That’s why our Gospel reading today is so “personal.” That’s why we can be a part of the passion in so many ways, identifying ourselves with the people that were there.
So we can become the ones waving palms as Jesus enters the city. And sometimes, we can be the ones who cry, “Crucify him!” Other times, we are the ones who really cure him in his agony on the Cross. Or just one of the Apostles: Peter, John, Judas. We can also beSimon of Cyrene, or Mary our Blessed Mother, or the holy women.
As we heard, Jesus gave himself up for those men and women in Jerusalem long ago. But he also gave himself up for me and for you, and for everyone else who has ever lived or will live in the future.
This is the meaning of Holy Week! It is a simple and yet beautiful truth: Jesus loves each of us in a personal way — he gives his life for each one of us.
So it means that the Cross of Christ is a personal challenge – a call to conversion. As Pope Francis said this morning as he was talking about how we should imitate the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading of today’s Mass.
Jesus, second person of the Blessed Trinity, assumes human nature, humiliating himself in that sense, and then allowing him to be crucified, giving his life — humbly giving his life for each one of us.
So as Pope Francis said this morning, “let us set about this week with determination along this same path, with immense love for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Love,” Pope Francis said, “will guide us and give us strength for where he is, we too shall be.”
That’s our challenge this week — the challenge to have a real conversion of heart.
Then, at the same time, we all are missionary disciples of the love and mercy of God. So we need to show others the mercy of God, the love of God, that we feel so intensely these days as we understand how Jesus loves us so much, to the point of giving his life for me and for you.
So, beginning today, let us try to unite ourselves to Jesus in prayer. And reading the Gospel passages of his Passion.
Let us follow Jesus and be close to him and his Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Let us try to be near him in his suffering on Good Friday. Let us help him carry his Cross to Calvary. And confess, with all our heart, minds, and strength, that truly, he is the Son of God.
Asking for the grace to love the Cross. Understanding that to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we need to go through Jesus’ Passion and death.
It is a beautiful week. The “Great Sunday” of the Christian year. So let us try to live this week in a special way.
We go about our daily obligations and duties, so it’s a challenge for all of us to really concentrate on what is the most important thing: remembering the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ and then celebrating his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
So let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary — who walked with her Son every step on the way of the Cross — let us ask her to help us this week, to teach us courage, so that we can follow Jesus through our whole lives, along this way that leads to the Resurrection.
1. Readings (Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, Year B): Procession: Matt 21:1-22. Readings at the Mass: Isa. 50:4-7; Ps. 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Phil. 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47.