Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion: Between Heaven and Earth
(This is a brief homily for after the reading of the Passion)
And they raised Him up on a cross. He was between heaven and earth. On the ground, yet raised up to the sky. He was with His People, with Us, but He was also with His Father.
People had carried palms and sang “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” But some, perhaps most, were looking for a military leader called by God like Joshua, or Gideon, or even Samson. Most could not understand how Jesus could be lifted up on a cross. Many were disillusioned. He was not the Messiah they thought He would be. And they were right. Jesus was a military leader of a spiritual army, not a physical army. Most people could not understand this.
But there were some of the people who did understand why Jesus was lifted up. They realized that He had come to unite heaven to earth and, more to the point, earth to heaven. They realized that God’s love could not be explained. “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM HE,” the Lord said in John 8:28. We can’t explain how much our God loves us. There are no words, no concepts that adequately express His Love. It is beyond comprehension. God’s love can only be experienced. We experience His Love when we come to the realization that He did this for us, for all of us and for each of us.
“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the good thief whom we call Dismis prayed. And Jesus saw his faith. This man was concerned about the spiritual not the physical. “Today, you will be with me in paradise,” the Lord responded. You will be part of the spiritual Kingdom. Dismis experienced Mercy.
And, so, we begin Holy Week. Our focus is on the Cross, where the Lord reigned suspended between heaven and earth. We call out to Him, “Remember me Lord when you come into your Kingdom.”
And He calls out to us, “Join me. Join me in bringing heaven to earth and earth to heaven. Provide the experience of God’s love to others by sacrificing yourselves for them. Join me,” the Lord calls out. “Join me in the sacrifice of the Cross. Join me in the Triumph of the Cross.”