Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | March 28/29, 2015
PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the readings here. This homily is based on the first and Gospel readings.
I still remember my 1st day as a hospital chaplain.
I had been in the hospital for about 15 minutes when I received a page to come to the ER. I rushed in to find an elderly woman looking at the body of her husband who had just dropped dead from a massive heart attack.
She turned to me and said, “We were about to head home to Michigan for the summer.”
I had no words. What could I say to her in the midst of such a profound and shocking loss?
So I did the one thing that I could do. I opened up my arms and embraced her as she dissolved in tears. I knew that I could not remove her cross, but I could at least help her carry it in that moment. And somehow, that was enough.
I couldn’t help but think back to that moment after reflecting on the Passion Story once again this weekend. For truly, if there was ever an event in which words fall short, it is the narrative of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
And yet, woven throughout the story, we find heroic people who chose to reach out to Christ with responses that transcend words. Responses that conveyed a deeper truth…the truth that Christ was never alone in his journey.
They came in the form of an anointing with oil by a silent woman who allows her tears to speak for her.
They came in the form of a stranger stepping in and helping to shoulder the wood of the cross.
They came in the form of those who stood silently by the cross. Who kept watch in those final moments when Christ felt so alone.
These responses may have been small. They may have seemed insignificant. They may not have stopped Christ from dying on that cross.
But they did make his journey easier.
If I could my friends, I would like to invite you all to stand and extend your arms in the shape of a cross. I would like you to hold your arms out, feeling the heaviness contained within them. Our crosses are real my friends and we all have them.
And yet, if we can look past our own crosses, we may just see the countless outstretched arms all around us that are there to help us carry our load and who need us to help them carry theirs.
If you are comfortable, I invite you to grab on to those outstretched hands this morning. For we are one body in Christ and we do not walk alone.
We may not be able to remove every cross that lies in our path. But we can help each other carry them.
And somehow, I believe that will be enough.