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Passion/Palm Sunday - Fr John's Homilies

Passion/Palm Sunday
  1. Today we allow the Gospel of our Lord’s Passion to speak for itself. The betrayal of Christ starts with someone from the inner circle; someone from the community; Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asks: What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?

              

  1. Judas went to the Jewish authorities and asks; What’s in it for me! On the other hand we hear that the disciple came to Jesus and asked; what do you want us to do for you.

 

  1. Judas asked 'What will you give me?' - The disciples asked what can we do for you?

 

  1. It is Christ who is being betrayed; Christ the head of the community; Christ the head of the Church.

 

  1. How often do we also get it wrong; seeing the Church as somehow separate from Christ and separate from ourselves? It is people who betray Christ; in His community which is his body, the Church.

 

  1. How often do we also hear from those separated from the Church: 'The Church has let me down; the priest was rude to me; all they want is your money....'

 

  1. But in the end, when all is said and done, it is betrayal of Christ.   St Paul's words in other circumstances can fittingly be applied here: You are separated from Christ ... you have fallen from grace.'

 

  1. The Gospel sums it up neatly when it tells us that Judas 'went to the chief priests'; while on the other hand, 'the disciples came to Jesus.'

 

  1. The betrayal of Judas is a betrayal of the Eucharist. Every betrayal of the church is a betrayal of Christ; betrays the Eucharist.

 

  1. The powers of the devil are powerful, and they are also very evil, very clever and very cunning. St Paul uses the singular word “Devil” to prepare the Ephesian Christians for the huge problem that faces them in the form of temptation.

 

  1. Evil seldom attacks openly, preferring darkness to light, that when it transforms himself into ‘an angel of light’ we are caught unsuspecting. This is a dangerous wolf, but enters Christ’s flock in the disguise of a sheep. Sometimes it roars like a lion, but more often is as subtle as a serpent.

 

  1. We must not imagine, therefore, that open persecution and open temptation to sin are his only or even his commonest weapons; he prefers to seduce us into compromise and deceive us into error”.

 

  1. Paul admonishes the Ephesians; Do not therefore be too self-confident by assuming that you are clever enough to withstand “the Devil’s evil tricks”. Beware of the formidable enemy you are up against and seek Christ’s help in your conflict.

 

  1. But let us hasten to acknowledge that every betrayal is redeemable. No one ever needs to be lost. The road back to Christ is open to all - to Peter, to the other disciples, and even to Judas.

 

  1. At that first Eucharist of Jesus there sits Judas who is about to betray him and on the other hand sit the disciples who would desert him. Even now they reject his prophetic word which is, even though they do not realise it, essentially a rejection of Jesus himself, the Word of God.

 

  1. Judas has now left the community of the disciples. He has become the first bad Catholic. He has betrayed the fellowship, the community of the Lord, the Church.

 

  1. But Jesus has a work to complete. He heads off to the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by his dazed and disheartened disciples.

 

  1. Let us go too, in all our weakness and hesitation. Perhaps we will, with the Eleven, learn what he wishes to teach us; to become what he wants us to become.