March 16, 2008
Palm Sunday, Cycle A

Commemoration of the Lord's Entrance into Jerusalem
Matt. 21:1-11

First Reading: Is. 50:4-7
Psalm 22
Second Reading:
Phil. 2:6-11
Matt. 26:14-27:66

The Cross as the Reason & Hope for Every Good Deed

During the Vatican 1, the Church greeted the Passion narratives in total silence. The priest omitted the proclamation, “The gospel of the Lord;” he gave no homily, for even though a homily directs our focus upon God, it was somehow perceived as a “distraction” from meditating on the reason of the Cross. The Cross can become our best motivator of hope for every good deed if we really gaze upon it in faith, love and trust. Just imagine what happened to this school child in the following short story. The story is told that:

“He was failing all his class exams in the local Public school. He asked his parents to send him to a Catholic School, which they did. At the end of the semester, this student came first in his class. The amazed parents asked how he had improved so dramatically in such a short time. The student replied the parents, ‘Mom, Dad, you see, the moment I walked into that new school and saw that guy hanging up there on a wooden Cross along the classroom wall, I knew that the teachers and students in there were darn serious. I thought if I fooled, they would hung me up there and I wasn’t going to be like that man that hung up there on the classroom wall. They did not joke or fool around; so I decided not to take any chances.” I worked my bum and here I am – happy – on top of my new class – on top of the world!”

As the Cross became the focus of hope for success of a student failing his class exams, the Black slaves also, when they found life and living burdensome under their slave masters, turned to the Cross singing:

“We shall overcome. We shall overcome. We shall overcome some day. Only deep in our hearts, we do believe that we shall overcome some day.”

The stories of the student and the Black slaves give us a reason to do well in our faith, to live in hope, to love, to be kind and gentle, and to be decent individuals, parishioners or couples who appreciate each other’s time, talent or giftedness in our lives.

Like the student in the story, like the Black slaves in their “hope song,” let us believe, trust and hope in Jesus as never before! Let us love as Jesus loved so that we also, may make all things NEW in the lives of all we meet each day in our lives!

Father John-Baptist Okai
Priest Moderator
St. Cecilia Parish, Regina SK Canada

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