Palm Sunday - March 25, 2018 (Thoman)

Palm Sunday – Holy Spirit (SH/HT)

Is 50:4-7 | Phil 2:6-11 | Mk 14:1-15:47

I. One time there was a group of children who were participating in a Passion Sunday
liturgy of the word activity.  
They were presented with a long newsprint tableau that had all the events of Jesus’
Passion drawn on it. The children were to then draw themselves into the tableau:
they were to draw themselves at various points among these events and the teacher
would ask who they were.
One child confidently drew herself standing next to Jesus when Jesus was before
The teacher asked, “Who are you here and what are you doing?”
The child responded: I am Jesus’ lawyer.

II. Would you like to be Jesus’ lawyer? What would be your strategy of defense?
Which of Jesus’ rights are being violated? What due process would you insist upon
for your client, Jesus?

III. This week is a very special time – it is the week when we are called to embrace the
Passion of Jesus. We merge ourselves with it.

  • the sense of this should not be that we are reliving a drama – or merely
    “remembering” what happened to Jesus – or even that we are participating in a
    religious ritual
  • rather, it should be that the Passion of Jesus is happening today
  • today the Passion of Jesus is a reality for millions of people around the in our own community...and in our personal lives
  • there are many people we will meet this week – people who are living the
    Passion of Jesus in their own way: for example, we will meet the apostles – at
    once loyal and disloyal, courageous and cowardly; there is Mary who steadfastly
    stood by Jesus throughout the week; the women of Jerusalem who reached out
    in compassion for Jesus; Pilate, unable to stand up for what he sensed was the
    truth; the soldiers, complacent, doing their duty as servants of the state; the
    crowds, who allowed themselves to take on a crowd personality; and so on...
  • today, I suggest we step into the shoes of just one: Simon of Cyrene
  • he was a Cyrenian Jew, originally from northern Africa, “pressed into service” to
    help Jesus carry the cross.

IV. How are you and I “pressed into service” to assist Jesus?

  • it is remarkable that Jesus, the Son of God, would need help in the work of
    salvation – but there he is, Simon of Cyrene, - or should I say – you and I –
    pressed into service for the work of salvation
  • are you a child? Do your parents ever “make” you do things you’d rather not
    do? Do they expect you to help out at care for a little brother or help with dishes or laundry or be responsible for school give a good example to others?
  • are you a teenager – how are you “pressed into service?” Do your parents or
    teachers expect you to take responsibility for yourself – or to help care for
    others, maybe family members or other students – has a teacher ever asked you
    to take another student’s lunch tray to the kitchen, or pickup someone’s books?
    Do you claim, “It’s not my stuff?” Or do you willingly help out?
  • and how are adults “pressed into service?” That is almost a definition of
    marriage: to be pressed into service by standing by each other, supporting one
    another, helping each other grow in your vocation.
  • are you “pressed into service” at work – are you expected to be courteous and
    respectful of customers when they are rude? Are you supposed to help
    coworkers or work with people you don’t like?
  • and how are we – each of us - “pressed into service” to be a sort of lawyer Simon
    of Cyrene – someone who sticks up for the rights of others – advocating for
    them, like a lawyer: speaking up their behalf – someone who helps to carry the
    burdens of others?

V. We can carry the burdens of others by literally doing that, being of service to the
poor, the weak, the most vulnerable.
We can carry the burdens of others in our prayer – lifting up the world’s
suffering, the poor, the homeless, victims of crime and terrorism, abused children and
women...the list can go on and on....
They are not all in far away countries, some are next door, even in our own
homes: take them into your heart, take them into your prayer: you will become
Simon of Cyrene, helping to carry the burdens of the world, helping to bring the world
to salvation during this week of walking with Jesus in his Passion.
Fr. Dwayne Thoman