Homily: Palm Sunday


Pax et Bonum!

On March 2nd, 2012, an EF-4 Tornado struck across southern Indiana, killing 30 people.  As the tornado barreled down on Marysville, IN, Stephanie Decker received a text from her husband, Joe, that radar was showing a tornado headed straight for their new dream home.  Stephanie had only a couple of minutes to get their two children into the basement, before the tornado tore their three-story brick and stone home to pieces, with the first floor, coming down on top of them.  Stephanie, desperately wanting to protect her children, shielded them with her own body, as the upper part of the house came down on them.  Her legs were both pinned under the debris, but she saved the lives of her little son and daughter.  Stephanie would be rescued from that basement, but would lose both of her legs.

We know that there are many heroes like Stephanie, people who put their own lives on the line, to save others.  Sometimes they survive.  And many times they don’t.  And then when some do survive, like Stephanie, their lives are changed forever.

In the Gospel of St. John, 15:13 &14, we can read that Jesus Himself said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.”  And of course, as we just read, that is exactly what Jesus did for you and me.  He died for us.  He gave up everything in this world, for our salvation.

This story then is unlike any other story we are ever going to hear.  Jesus didn’t die just to save somebody else.  Jesus died to save you and me.  We are involved in this story.  We are the beneficiaries of what he did, every bit as much as Stephanie Decker’s children, were the beneficiaries of what she did in that basement in Marysville.  We must be transformed by this story.

So today, we ask ourselves, who and what would we be willing to die for?  Who would you take a bullet for, or protect in an attack, or shield with your body?  Maybe we also need to ask who else do we have in our lives that would be willing to die for us?  Jesus’ love is beyond all compare!  There’s a reason why they call this reading “The Passion”.  It is because there is no greater love.  Jesus did this for us.  Now, especially this week, what we going to be willing to do for Him?