Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Belated Passion Sunday Homily Year A

Many thoughts go through my mind and heart as I hear the Passion of our Lord. One phrase that calls me, again and again, is "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." These words are spoken to Peter but they are spoken to me. I am Peter- bursting with enthusiasm, bragging of my faithfulness: "Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be." Mt 26:33. Then a few moments later, I'm falling asleep, I'm denying that I've ever known Jesus the Christ.

My excuses are smaller than St. Peter's. No one threatens me with death, just discomfort or curious looks, yet I still deny Jesus by my words and actions. And like Peter I have wept bitterly when I realize my sins.

Why is this permitted? Why is it that the first Pope, the Rock foundation of our Church should deny Jesus? Why do I struggle with sin?

To remind us that the Church of Jesus Christ, our Catholic faith, is founded on His mercy, His forgiveness, not our efforts. Peter, the first Pope, was also the first penitent after the Resurrection. Jesus asks him three times, "Simon Peter do you love me?" Three questions of love for three denials.

I look forward to the chance for a good confession this week. To examine my life in the light of Jesus Christ and here His mercy and forgiveness- won for me by His cross. Take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession, receive the mercy won for us all by the Passion of Jesus Christ.

"We adore You, O Christ and we praise You, for by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world."

1 comment:

Adoro te Devote said...

Well said!

Last year, I taught RCIA and it was during Confirmation that I realized what Jesus was doing. For years I had denied Him in so many ways. But during RCIA, a particular woman didn't have a sponsor, and I'd stood in during the Rite of Welcoming. Apparently I made an impression, and she asked if I could be her Sponsor. Our parish had 2 classes..the main one, which I helped to teach, and the other, consisting of people who could't be present at that one. This woman was from the latter.

I will forever remember standing in front of the altar, my hand on her shoulder, facing the entire parish..it might as well have been the entire People of God.

I remembered all that I had said and did against Jesus and the Church, and what I heard from Him was, "Do you love me?"

He asked Peter only 3 times. And I'm guessing dear Cephas heard that very question throughout his life.

And I base that on the fact that Jesus asks us that question to give us as many and more opportunites to say "yes" so that we can overcome every single NO in our lives. Last year, by being allowed to teach RCIA...I stood up there saying YES! to all the things I'd denied in the past. And I stood up there, in God's own presence, a little Paul, saying YES and asking God to say YES to this wonderful woman who had dreamed of being Catholic for 60 years. And her daughter, standing next to her, was Confirmed at the same time. We were all crying.

Jesus is so merciful...there He was, crucified for us, bleeding for us, suffering for us...just waiting for the tiny consolation of a single "yes."

And for each time we deny Him, I am absolutely convinced He gives us as many opportunities as we need to reverse our decision.

And boy, do I have a LOT of "no's" to overcome! (I hope my life is long enough to do this...)