Homily given by Bishop Anthony Randazzo
Bishop of Broken Bay
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral,
28 March 2021
In recent times, the question of faith has been subjected to scrutiny in the media, in politics, in law, in society. Unlike some, I hope that conversations about faith are robust, intelligent, and respectful. For thousands of years the human mind has wrestled with the questions of creation and salvation, humanity and divinity, good and evil.
These same questions are possibly more relevant to us in the 21st century than ever before. In our time, we have access to more information than any other era in history. And yet, despite our advancement in information technology, or maybe because of it, we live in a society that generally accepts a superficial exploration of knowledge as satisfactory.
One negative effect on our time is that so much information seems to have left little room for the mystery of faith. This has become one of the great challenges for the Christian community in the modern world.
When Saint John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council in 1959, his intention was to help the Church communicate the unchanging truth of the Gospel by way of the truths of the Faith, to a world agitated by traumatic change and disturbance in practically every field of life. At the forefront of the Council’s concern was the abiding care for the dignity of the human person within the context of modernity. The Church’s concern was only allayed because of the joy and hope that comes from believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My brother and sister, our entry into Holy Week today is a participation in the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Like our Master, we do not parade with pride, nor do we march with a sense of human triumph. Rather, the Christ we follow urges us to imitate him in humility and sincerity, to evangelise and transform the modern world. This is the mission of the Lord Jesus and those who profess to follow him.
As we commence our Holy Week, we are united with Christians everywhere who accept the gift of faith and recognize in Jesus the eternal living Word of God. We profess our belief that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word took flesh of the Virgin Mary, and became truly human. As Catholic Christians, we accept Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, as the saviour and redeemer of the world.
The Letter to the Philippians bears witness to the fact that the Christian community believes that Jesus Christ was born, lived, suffered, was crucified, died, and rose from the dead. Even more importantly, it is testimony to the truth that Jesus Christ is truly both God and man.
Homily; Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord Page 2/2
Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us that faith in this truth is what leads us to believe in God. Such faith directs us to true happiness because it opens for us the pathway to salvation. At the centre of this divine mystery is the incarnation and the suffering of Christ (cf. Summa Theologiae, II/II. q.1, a.7).
For those who are cultural Christians, there is very little happiness in believing, and the pathway to salvation begins and ends with superficial words and actions.
For the authentic disciple, it is indispensable to have faith in God, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, to live life in the Spirit, and to worship God in the assembly of the faithful. Authentic discipleship, as the Evangelist Mark reminds us, is to know Jesus Christ as the way to salvation and to be united with Him through his life, his death, and his resurrection from the dead. Authentic disciples do not fall victim to the negativity of the world. Nor do they become cynical or pessimistic when the world rejects the message of the Gospel.
As Christian disciples, our vocation is to follow the Lord, to proclaim his Gospel by holy lives, and to promote and defend the dignity of the human person in every moment and in every place. In this way, the mystery of Christ and of his Body – the Church, can be revealed to the world as the way to salvation.
My sisters and brother we have followed the Lord into Jerusalem, so that dying with him on the cross, we might rise with him to everlasting life. AMEN