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Palm Sunday --- "Who do you say that I am?"

Audio Homily

What if I were to tell you that Holy Week could be summarized into one question :“Who do you say that I am?” What we hear in today’s readings are the occurrences of what we’ll be celebrating over the course of this week. Today, on Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem, but we soon find out that those who call Him “King” will soon call Him a “blasphemer” and call for His crucifixion.

I’d like to reflect with you today on the first part of the Gospel. Jesus is reclining at table with His disciples and other folks all around Him. A woman emerges from the small gathering carrying an
alabaster jar of oil. This jar carries a very expensive oil called spikenard, and as the Gospel puts it, the cost of the oil was over 300 day’s wages. So what does she do with it? She breaks it open and she pours it upon Jesus’s head. Everyone in the room were not only amazed, but they were indignant. They were very critical about what just happened. What's Jesus's response to all of this? He says that this woman just has done “something good for me” Interestingly enough, the Greek word for “good” can also rightly be translated as “beautiful.”

Why was this such an important part of the Gospel? Well, it was her way of worshiping the King.
She anoints Him with costly oil just as a King would be anointed. She recognizes the Christ in her midst and empties her whole self before Him. Instead of simply pouring the oil on His head, she breaks the jar. She saves no oil for herself as she gives it all to her King, to the Christ.
She answered the question “who do you say that I am” with the perfect act of worship
She gave most of what she had to her King

My friends, Peter eventually answers the question from Jesus as “You are the Christ.” He would eventually die a martyr’s death for His testimony. But how do we answer the question: “who do you say that I am?” If we say He is a nice man who did nice things and said nice words… then what good is all of this. There have been many nice people who have lived. But if our testimony is like Peter’s or is like the woman with the oil --- what does that look like in our life?

Pope Francis highlights this very well in Evangelii Gaudium:
“Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.”

If we proclaim Jesus as the King triumphantly coming into our lives, we must make room. We must lay down our palms, our cloaks, our lives. It is in giving that we receive He teaches us through the cross.

My friends, as we begin Holy Week, may we allow the question of Jesus to be pondered daily in our minds: “Who do you say that I am?” May we live the answer each and every day