vendredi, mars 21, 2008

Sermon for Palm Sunday

The contrast is huge between the first part of the Liturgy when Our Lord is acclaimed as the Messiah and the second part when He enters into the great mystery of His Passion. On one side, we see the ineffable love of God for men. On the other, we see the murderous folly of men. On one side, we see the constancy of God who has decided to save mankind at the highest cost possible, by the effusion of the Precious Blood of Jesus who came precisely for this Hour. On the other, we see the fickleness of men who acclaim the Son of David one day and crucify Him another day.
If we had to draw a picture of humanity on this day of the Crucifixion, the painting would not be very agreeable to look at. What do we have? Hatred, jealousy, betrayal, falsehood, conspiracy, contempt, cupidity… in the best of cases cowardice and indifference! Where now is the crowd which acclaimed the Messiah during His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem? Where are they, those who pretended to die for Jesus? Where are they, those who have been healed, helped and forgiven by Jesus during the last three years?

There were just a few – a few among thousands – who remained with the Crucified until the end. Dear brethren, let us be honest! We think, and maybe we claim, that we are the true disciples of Jesus since we are faithful to the authentic teaching of the Church and because we worship according to her very venerable Liturgy. A few minutes ago we all acclaimed Jesus: Hosanna filio David! Now, who among us can seriously and sincerely assure that he would not have been on the side of the cowards and deserters or even on the side of the executioners on the day of the condemnation of Jesus?
Yes, men are truly inconsistent and irresolute. One day we claim during the Stations of the Cross that we are sorry for our sins that have crucified Jesus. We publicly proclaim that we love Him more than anything else. Then we crucify Him again by returning to our sins. The weakness of our judgment and the revolt of our passions can explain this for a part, but it does not excuse us since we have a remedy. Christian asceticism is a work of mortification that allows us to control our passions and to strengthen our will in order to make it conform to God’s will. We would be guilty if we neglected this part of the Christian life. We cannot be called disciples of Jesus if we are not crucified with Him. The old man has to die, as Saint Paul says, but this death is a long and plodding one.
Now I would like to leave the personal level for the political level. Today’s liturgy proclaims the Kingship of Our Lord as we sang during the procession: Gloria, laus, et honor, tibi sit Rex Christe! Glory, praise and honor to You, O Christ our King! For sure, the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world. But this does not mean that it has nothing to do with this world. On the contrary, the world must recognize the Kingship of Christ. The States, the Governments, the national and international institutions and organizations must recognize it. The Church urges them to do this and the Popes, especially Pius VI who condemned the French Revolution and the Declaration of Human rights, which denied and a rejected the supremacy of Christ. Therefore, the call was for Catholics to be involved in this battle.
This battle begins certainly with our own spiritual life. Being holy is the best way to bring the Kingdom of Christ on earth. But being holy means the accomplishment of your duties according to your state of life. For the Catholics who live in the world, it means to be engaged in the world by being missionaries and a visible witness for Christ, unless you live in a place where there are persecutions. The calls of the Popes have been followed by many, and are at the origin of many associations of lay people.
We have now to continue the work, and if I say this, it is because I have noticed a certain hesitation in this matter among many traditional Catholics, especially here in America. Basically they say that the world is evil, so we have to protect ourselves from it. The result is a certain retrenchment which certainly does not promote the mission. The intention might be good but it is not the right answer to secularism. We are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let your light shine before men! These are the words of Our Lord.
I am sometimes impressed, and ashamed for us, Catholics, when I see the zeal of the followers of certain sects or other denominations. They are truly missionaries, but unfortunately they spread a false doctrine. There are many evangelical preachers, some young single persons or couples, or even families who give one or more years of their life to go to another country, especially in South America, to ‘evangelize’ people. And look how many people from Latin America turn away from the Catholic Church and join other denominations. Do you think that it is not your concern? Then you are associated by your passivity in their apostasy.

Dear Brethren, the world is in war against Jesus and is Kingdom. It is one thing – and for sure a good thing – to acclaim Jesus as Our King when we are at church. But we also have to stand near the Cross when He is crucified. We cannot remain closed in our houses when souls are in perdition outside. We cannot keep the word of God just for ourselves. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
The call for the restoration of the Kingship of our Lord over the society is a call for a new missionary impulse. In a time when the old Christendom has collapsed and when the new secular society is about to give way to a strong and conquering Islam, it is more than ever necessary to reawaken the zeal that has animated our Elders. Christendom has not been built without sufferings, tears, sweat and blood, but it has been the result of an extraordinary wave of charity that fears nothing. The faithful Catholics must be on the battlefield. It is for Christ the King that we want to fight and to give our lives if necessary.

May Our Lady give us the ardor that we need. May she lead us on to the Calvary where the true battle takes place. May she help us to be faithful until the end and to never give up.


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