March 29 sermon of Monsignor Robert F. Tucker, St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield.

Palm Sunday:  His Glorious Throne

At first glance, the two themes for this Palm Sunday seem incompatible. How do you correlate the joy and celebration of Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem with the harsh realities of the passion and death on Calvary on Good Friday? The crowd is cheering on Sunday, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.”  However, His throne was not to be in a palace in Jerusalem but on a Cross on a hill called Calvary!

On Good Friday, the words inscribed above his tortured body were, “This is the King of the Jews” INRI Because Jesus willingly wore the crown of thorns and gave himself to be nailed to the throne of the cross, we are all given the crown of eternal life!  Usually, a King enters his city in ancient days riding on a war horse to convey his military power, but a beloved king entered on a donkey as the benevolent King, in meekness and gentleness.  Jesus comes not to lord it over or impose His will and power but as the loving, meek, forgiving man willing to suffer and die for His People. Love, Forgiveness, Mercy and Kindness come FIRST overpower this Holy Week. As St. Paul states, “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped.  Rather he emptied himself, humbled himself, even to death on a cross.”

This is the week to perhaps think about Michelangelo and his Statue of David in Florence.  When he was asked how he made it, he said, “It was easy.”  “You just chip away at that which doesn’t look like David and you get David.”  Imagine if you were to apply this philosophy to our lives this coming Holy Week.  Chip away, take one step at a time and clear out the clutter, excess, overload and stresses of your life.  There is no magical instant cure to life, except perhaps to just take and make sure that the real words that convey who you are come from the heart and not from the mind or the emotions.  Chip away at the words that do not stand for love, forgiveness, mercy and kindness.

This final week of Lent is our last chance to live up to our responsibility of responding ably to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Responsibility is not a comforting or reassuring word or thought but is seen or heard as more of a burden or task than an opportunity or possibility of growth. Yet, if we dare to call and realize this week is to be HOLY we need to respond with responsibility, we need to chip away at the negative.  God calls us this week more than any other week to live our faith, hope and love in word and action.  If we desire the transformation of Easter and a better world this spring, we must pray and act more Christ like.  It is our responding to picking up our cross and with a positive attitude move in imitation of Jesus!