A HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY – CYCLE “B” – MARCH 25TH, 2018 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
One of the most difficult questions to answer, in the history of mankind, is how did normally good, regular, law-abiding people, get caught up in some of history’s ugliest and cruelest events. Many times, good people, people that you would never expect, people who never would have come up with some of these atrocities on their own, seemingly get swept up in an overwhelming wave of evil, and all of a sudden they are doing things, that nobody ever would have believed that they were capable of doing before. For example, how many good people were caught up in the capture, and selling, and torture of the slave trade, prior to and during the Civil War? Or how many people were complacent in Russia during the rise of Stalin, or in Italy during the rise of Mussolini? Lots of basically good people, not only looked the other way, but actively supported and were personally involved in those guys coming to power.
But perhaps the worst example of this, is Nazi Germany and Hitler. So many of the German people, not only fell for Hitler’s lies, but became actively involved in the Nazi war machine, and even worse, in the extermination of the Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, and anyone who opposed the Third Reich, that was known as the “The Final Solution”. Good German people not only turned a blind eye to what was going on in the concentration camps, they worked there. They helped kill people. Many of them benefited from the killings and the camps. We read the stories from 1940’s Nazi Germany, and we wonder, how did this happen? How did these normally good people, regular people, fathers, mothers, and even children, end up helping Hitler to kill millions of people? Was it fear? Were they so afraid of the Nazi machine that they knew that they would be next? Were they conditioned by the Nazi propaganda? Or was there really something inside of each of them, something evil, something bad, that all Hitler had to do, was tap into to it, and they would go along with his sinister plan?
At every moment, each and every one of us, has the potential for incredible good inside of us, and we also have the potential for terrible evil. We choose every day between that good and bad. At the very beginning of St. Mark’s Passion story, we are given this very unique glimpse into that potential for good and bad that is in us, in this one, particular encounter. We just read it. Jesus and the Apostles were sitting around the table, at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will be betray me, one who is eating with me.” That’s a little light conversation started when you’re at Passover dinner with some of your closest friends! And it did upset the Apostles. Mark says, that they were distressed about it, and began asking one by one, “Surely it is not I?” Have you ever really thought about that? What’s going on here? Why in the world, are the all twelve of the Apostles asking if it is going to be them, who is going to betray Jesus? Don’t they love Him? Aren’t they committed to Him? Why would they say that? I think that it is connected to those good German people in Nazi Germany!
All of us, all of us, have good and bad in us. And so did the Apostles! The Apostles asked, “Is it I, Lord?” because they knew how weak they could be. They knew, that each one of them had the potential, to betray their Lord and friend, Jesus Christ, and they didn’t want it to be them!
We are all a mix of saint and sinner. Every day, as followers of Jesus Christ, we seek to let out the saint and live in holiness committed to Jesus Christ. But that sinner is always living inside of each of us. And each one of us can be weak. And each one of us can make the wrong choices. And each one of us can go along with things that we know in our minds and in our hearts, are NOT right. Oh yeah, we know it, as much as the Apostles knew it at the Last Supper.
And so, we pray to stick with the good. We pray to live out the good in our lives. We pray to make the choices. It is up to us. We get to decide. Eleven of the Apostles did NOT betray Jesus. Only Judas did. But the potential was there for all of them. And they knew it.
Today we begin Holy Week. Easter is one week away! Most especially during this week, are we going to be betray Jesus? Like the Apostles today, we too ask, “Is it I, Lord?” We pray that it is NOT us. Let us stay true to Christ! Let us persevere in our Faith and in our holiness. Let us make the right choices this Holy Week, and every week!
+ May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!