March 20, 2021

Good Friday: The paradox of Divine foolishness (April 2, 2021)

Holy Week from where it happened (virtual pilgrimage):click on https://youtu.be/Uq56ectzwno  

THE GOOD FRIDAY-2021: THE PARADOX OF DIVINE FOOLISHNESS (in one page)

Paradoxes in Jesus Christ: A paradox may be defined as “A statement opposed to common sense, yet true in fact.” We observe four paradoxes in Jesus Christ. i)He came to the earth in order that we might go to Heaven. ii) He was born in the flesh that we might be born of the Spirit. iii) Christ accepted poverty so that we might be made rich. iv) He was rejected of men that we might be accepted by God.

Paradoxes in Christian Faith: We Christians believe in several paradoxes and ironies. 1- We believe that God had to become man to save man from the bondage of sin and eternal damnation. 2- We believe that was because God loved man so much (Jn 3:16). 3- We also believe that the best option for God to express His love for man was through the suffering and death of His Son. 4- We believe that Christ’s passion and death in a remote corner of the world has universal salvific effect on the entire human race. 5- (Rom 5:8,10): According to St. Paul these paradoxes form the core of God’s ‘Foolishness.’

The paradox of living as fools for Christ: (I Cor. 4:10). To die for the sins of all mankind, knowing that man would never stop sinning, seems like the crazy act of a fool. So, in a sense, Good Friday is “Fool’s Day.” You and I as Christians are indeed FOOLS for Christ. “We are FOOLS for Christ’s sake,” (I Cor. 4:10) The Cross was “a scandal to the Jews and as FOLLY to the Greeks”, Saint Paul tells us in his epistle (I Cor. 1:23). For a Divine Person to leave Heaven, come to earth, take on a human nature, and most of all to die willingly for the sins of mankind is FOOLISH in the eyes of the world. The Romans and the Jewish leaders thought Jesus a Fool to ask people to “love your enemies,” to “turn the other cheek,” and to “forgive those who wrong you.” Throughout history, the followers of Christ have been labeled fools, from the martyrs who preferred to die rather than denounce their Faith, to the defenders of the right to life of the unborn.

Paradoxes of Good Friday: 1) On Good Friday, we remember the irony of how mortal man killed an immortal God. 2) Paradoxically, the main accusation leveled against God by His own “Chosen people” was blasphemy — God Incarnate, Jesus, claimed that he was God. 3) The paradox of a clean finish. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant our salvation, plain and simple. What was “finished” was the power of sin to control and rule our lives. 4) The paradox of the cross is that from a symbol of violence it was transformed into a symbol of our salvation by Jesus’ dying on it. 5) The paradox of willingly carrying the cross and following Jesus, dying to ourselves. As saints and martyrs did, we choose to carry the cross of Jesus. 6) The paradox of accepting, rather than avoiding suffering: Jesus chose suffering to save us and thus gave meaning to our suffering. 7) The paradox that we are the crucifiers of Christ by our sins and don’t admit it.

Life messages: We need to apply the paradox of the cross in our daily lives: that it is only by “dying to self,” or “losing oneself,” that one can “find oneself.” Through death alone, we find real Life. Accepting and bearing, instead of refusing, or cursing our crosses, we find they are loving gifts from God meant to make us stronger in Christian life and more dependent on God. When we willingly forgive, instead of harboring grudges for injuries, we are freed from death and enter Life. Carrying our cross also means resisting that temptation to do what everybody else does, like not having sex before marriage and being faithful to your spouse after marriage. Cross-bearing means putting down the remote control and picking up one’s Bible, or praying when one would rather be sleeping. Carrying our cross means asking God to help us “swallowing our pride,” get past our fear and just tell someone about Jesus. In sum, we bear our cross by doing what God wants us to do, instead of what we want to do.

THE GOOD FRIDAY-2021: THE PARADOX OF DIVINE FOOLISHNESS (Full text)

Introduction: A paradox may be defined as “A statement opposed to common sense, yet true in fact.” The cross of Christ is the greatest of all paradoxes. It was the most tragic event in the history of the world, yet the most wonderful thing that ever happened. It was the saddest spectacle man ever beheld, yet it was the most stunning defeat Satan ever suffered and the most glorious victory Christ ever won. He won by losing. He conquered by surrendering. The cross portrays man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, human weakness, and divine strength. It demonstrates man’s inability to save himself, and God’s ability, power, and willingness to do this for him. The cross, from the human standpoint, is foolishness; yet it is a revelation of the highest wisdom of God. We observe four paradoxes in Jesus Christ. i)He came to the earth in order that we might go to Heaven. ii) He was born in the flesh that we might be born of the Spirit. iii) Christ accepted poverty so that we might be made rich. iv) He was rejected by men that we might be accepted by God.

Anecdotes: 1) Paradoxes in A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens introduces his epic novel A Tale of Two Cities with these immortal, paradoxical lines: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times … It was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair. We had everything before us. We had nothing before us. We were all going direct to Heaven. We were all going direct the other way.” The contradictory sentiments these contrasts evoke point to “enlightened” eighteenth-century London and Paris, at a time just before the French Revolution. These lines hint at the contrasts and tensions that will uncoil in the book and the conflicting values that will be portrayed. Love and hate. Wealth and poverty. Good and evil. They make for an apt description of another time in history, too; one where Light and Darkness, hope and despair smashed into each other, and the world was changed forever on the Good Friday at Calvary. The cross of Christ has to be the biggest paradox in Scripture. It is so difficult to grasp that it is described as a stumbling block to Faith to some, foolishness to others, and yet for some of us it is the turning point of history and the foundation of our faith. (Krish Kandiah). Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

2) Conversion experience of actress who played Veronica: Now in the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson the actress who imitated the actions of St. Veronica had a conversion experience, right there in the midst of filming the scene.  Sabrina Impacciatore is an Italian actress and although she had grown up Catholic, she had long ago stopped practicing her faith.  At the time when they began filming, she was at a spiritual low point in her life.  She later explained that she really wanted to believe in Jesus, but she just couldn’t do it. Her scene in the movie is quite memorable.  Jesus is carrying his cross to Calvary and he falls again for the third or fourth time.  The crowds surge in around him, abusing him as he lies on the ground.  Without much success the soldiers try to control the crowds.    And gliding through the middle of all this confusion is Veronica.  She looks at Jesus with love and devotion.  She kneels beside him and says, “Lord, permit me.”  She takes a white cloth and wipes his face which is covered with blood, dirt, and sweat.  She then offers him a drink.  It’s a brief moment of intimacy in the middle of violent suffering.  Sabrina said it was a very hard scene to film.  The churning crowd kept bumping into her and disrupting the moment of intimacy.  And so they had to film it over and over again.  Twenty times they had to film it before getting it right.

And that was providential.  Because after twenty times of kneeling before the suffering Christ, looking into his eyes, and calling him Lord, the actress felt something start to melt inside her.  She wasn’t seeing the actor pretending to be our Lord; she was seeing our Lord himself.  Later, she explained that while she looked into his eyes, she found that she was able to believe.  “For a moment,” she said, “I believed!”  That experience lit the flame of hope in her darkened heart. Sabrina finally understood the words Jesus spoke from the Cross when he said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” The brutality of the scene made a big impression on her.  She found herself thinking, “Jesus is someone I can trust, he went through this for me.”  Even when we reject him, scourge him, crown him with thorns, betray him, and finally crucify him, our Lord still continues to love us.  The Passion is God saying to us, I will keep loving you. The name Veronica comes from the two words vera and icon and these two words mean true image.   This true image refers to the image of Jesus’ face that was left on the cloth that was used to wipe his face.   As Christians all of us are supposed to be a Veronica, a true icon, a true image of Jesus. (Fr. Christopher J. Ankley) https://stjeromebc.org/pastors/palm-sunday-of-the-passion-of-the-lord/

Paradoxes in Christian faith: We Christians believe in a set of paradoxes and ironies. 1- We believe that God had to become man to save man from the bondage of sin and eternal damnation. 2- We believe that was so because God loved man so much (Jn 3:16). 3- We also believe that the best option for God to express His love for man was through the suffering and death of His Son. 4- On Good Friday we remember the double irony that mortal man killed an immortal God and that God, Who is Life itself, would die for us. 5- Paradoxically, the main accusation leveled against God by His own “Chosen people” was blasphemy — God Incarnate, Jesus, claimed that He was God. 6- We believe that Christ’s passion and death in a remote corner of the world has universal salvific effect on the entire human race. The Prophet Isaiah declares, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5). And St. Paul tells us, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now, that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life ” (Romans 5:8,10). According to St. Paul these paradoxes form the core of God’s ‘Foolishness.’

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ” (I Cor. 4:10). To die for the sins of all mankind, knowing that man would never stop sinning seems like the crazy act of a fool. So, in a sense, Good Friday is “Fool’s Day.” You and I as Christians are indeed FOOLS for Christ. “We are FOOLS for Christ’s sake,” (I Cor. 4:10). The Cross was “a stumbling block to Jews and a folly to Greeks” (I Cor. 1:23), Saint Paul tells the Corinthians, and us. For a Divine Person to leave Heaven, come to earth, take on a human nature, and then, of all things, to die willingly for the sins of mankind is FOOLISH in the eyes of the world. The Romans and the Jewish leaders thought Jesus a Fool to ask people to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father Who is in Heaven”(Mt 5:43-45), to “turn the other cheek” (Mt 5:39b), and to pray “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us … For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt 6:12, 14). Throughout history, the followers of Christ have been labeled fools, from the martyrs who preferred death to denouncing their Faith to the defenders of the right to life of the unborn.

The following anecdotes throw some light on the “foolishness of the cross”. 1) A Jewish boy, Moses, was failing all his exams in the public school, so his parents decided to send him to a Catholic school. At the end of the year Moses came out on top of the class. When his parents asked him what made him change so dramatically Moses replied, “You see, the moment I walked into that new school and saw that guy hanging on the plus-sign, I knew that the people here were really serious; so I decided not to take any chances!” For little Moses, the “man on the plus-sign” – Jesus on His cross — was there to scare little boys and not to show them how much He loves them and to assure them that He has already paid the penalty for their sins. Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

2) “One with the little man on it?” It’s become fashionable these days to wear crosses, not necessarily as a sign of faith, but as a trendy accessory. Crosses are hip now. An anecdote often shared in Christian circles tells of an encounter at a department store jewelry counter. The customer says she is interested in buying a cross, to which the sales clerk replies: “Do you want a plain one, or one with the little man on it?”

3) The familiar phrase “He died for us” evokes no special feeling in most of us. That is why many refused to watch the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” with the seemingly innocent argument, “It is a full-length horror film!”

4) Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hard-working and God-fearing man and the younger, a dishonest, gun-toting substance-abusing rogue. Many a night the younger man would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash and the elder brother would spend hours pleading with him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the young man would have none of it. One night the junior brother ran into the house with smoking gun and bloodstained clothes. “I killed a man,” he announced. In a few minutes police surrounded the house and the two brothers knew there was no escape. “I did not mean to kill him,” stammered the young brother, “I don’t want to die.” By now the policemen were knocking at the door. The senior brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with the bloodstained clothes of his killer brother. The police arrested him, tried him and condemned him to death for murder. He was killed and his junior brother lived. He died for his brother.

Naturally, we would expect the younger brother to respond with gratitude. Gratitude to his generous brother should make him turn a new leaf and never go back to a life of crime. He would be the most ungrateful idiot if he should continue living the sort of life that made his brother die, right?

Then what is our reaction to the story of the Passion we just read from the Gospel of John? That story reminds us that the Grace that we stand in didn’t come cheap. When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) we sense something of the terror of bearing the weight of the sin of all humanity. The paradox of the cross is that Jesus died for us, not even though, but rather because we don’t deserve it. His death has made us God’s friends. Jesus Christ paid a huge price for our salvation. All it will cost us is our pride and self-will. Sometimes it seems to us that this is too great a price, which only indicates how far removed we are from the details of Christ’s sacrifice. We should be filled with gratitude – gratitude strong enough to make us hate sin of every shade; strong enough to make us translate our love of God into love of all God’s people.

Good Friday: the paradox of a clean finish. There is a big paradox in the Good Friday story. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” (Lk 23:46) bowed His head and gave up His spirit, it really was finished. What was finished was our salvation, plain and simple. Who was finished was the devil, and his power to accuse us before God in Heaven. What was finished was the power of sin to control and rule our lives. Sin was finished. Satan was finished. Death was finished. In the midst of what looked like utter defeat, Jesus had accomplished a great victory, and because we are baptized, that victory has now become our victory. What we have received through the means of Grace, beginning with Baptism, and strengthened and reinforced through God’s Word and through Holy Communion, is that which Jesus finished.

But the irony is that we are still sinners and the ones least worried about our sinful condition. In addition, the crucifixion of Jesus still goes on in the lives of human beings throughout history. That is, Jesus continues to be crucified in all those who are crucified in history. He is crucified in the millions who go hungry every day and in those who are subjected to inhuman working conditions. He is crucified in all those who are mutilated in war and confined to hospital beds. He is crucified in those who are marginalized in our cities and rural areas, and in those who suffer from discrimination because of their race, sex, or poverty. He is crucified in those who are persecuted because of their thirst for justice, and in those who are forced in their jobs to violate their conscience, to conceal the truth, and to act as agents for institutions that oppress the lowly. He is crucified in all those who fight without immediate success, against economic and ideological systems that generate sinful structures that engage in exploitation. He is crucified in all those who are forced to live within such structures against their will.

The paradox of the cross: a symbol of violence as the symbol of our salvation. The cross is violence. But we must see how it is decidedly our violence, our unrighteousness. It is only God’s violence in that God suffers it — not only without retaliation but with Merciful Love. That is, the cross with Jesus on it, suffering the violence of our death penalty for our sin, because He loves us that much is our violence meeting and being overcome by God’s unconditional love, and forgiveness, and power of life. So, the cross and its violence are precisely the answer we desperately need in order, finally, to give up all our failed attempts at peace through superior firepower. The cross is the answer we need, finally, to live with God’s power of love and life, and the answer we need, finally, to let God lead our feet into the way of peace.

There is the story about a tyrannical teacher who used a hollow bamboo pipe to beat the children in his class in a village in South Africa. One day the teacher was sick and the children came to class and there was no one to teach them. The pipe lay on the teacher’s desk – alone and ominous. Eventually one brave girl got up and touched it – much to the horror of the other kids. She took the pipe and using a classmate’s pocketknife began cutting the pipe into pieces. Each piece she cut holes in and fashioned several small piccolos which she handed to the class and encouraged all to play the notes they could. The next day when the teacher came back to school he was outraged to find his pipe missing and confronted the kids. To his red, angry face the children stood up and began playing their mini flutes. The teacher’s hatred was instantly transformed as he saw his tool of dominion transformed into instruments of beauty and celebration. Never again did he hit a child. This is what Jesus did with his cross – transforming our hatred, ugliness and oppression into love, beauty and liberation.

“The symbol of the cross in the Church points to the God who was crucified not between two candles on an altar, but between two thieves in the place of the skull, where the outcasts belong, outside the gates of the city. It does not invite thought, but a change of mind. It is a symbol, which therefore leads out of the Church and out of religious longing into the fellowship of the oppressed and abandoned. On the other hand, it is a symbol which calls the oppressed and godless into the Church and through the Church into the fellowship of the crucified God.”(JÜRGEN MOLTMANN, “The Crucified God”)

The paradox of carrying the cross and following Jesus. Jesus expresses the central paradox of discipleship: “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt 16:24-25). It is noteworthy that these words appear in all four Gospels. Acceptance of the cross, a symbol of death, produces eternal life. It is an even stranger paradox than the medical practice of protecting one from a virus that causes a deadly infection , by giving one another virus through vaccination, or gazing upon the image of the Saraph serpent in order to produce in one healing from an otherwise lethal Saraph serpent bite. Besides, to follow Someone who asked us to “take up our cross” daily seems foolish. But in the words of the late, great Archbishop Fulton Sheen, to be a fool for Christ is the greatest compliment the world can give. You and I are in good company. The saints before us were all fools for Christ and they practiced “Holy Folly” throughout their lives. Most of all, they embraced the Cross of Christ and were considered fools for doing so. If the world sees the sacrifice of the cross as folly, then to follow the One who was crucified must also be a fool. That God would love us despite our disobedience is foolish to the world. That He would send His only Son to die for our sins is even more foolish. The widespread belief that suffering is both abnormal and avoidable may be one of the greatest deceptions of modernity. The truth is that God’s grace takes the poor, broken things of this world—even the foulest, like an ignominious cross—and transforms them into something radiant and new. The more we embrace the Cross, both in our personal sufferings and in our relationship with Christ, the lighter become our burdens. In most cases, surrendering to His will means that His grace will flow abundantly to bestow the strength, patience, and perseverance we need to endure and even sanctify our trials.

The paradox of suffering and its acceptance: 1)There is the story of a man who was chained to a bed and beaten as a child. He now lives alone in a single room, aligning his shoes perfectly and setting each object in its appointed place every day. He has no friends other than his sense of control and order over his life. 2) There is another man who was in Auschwitz as a child and stood by as his mother and father were killed. He now devotes himself to making money and living what he perceives as the “good life.” “I’ve suffered enough,” he says. “I have a right to try to claim some happiness.” 3) There is a woman who was taken, blindfolded, at eighteen, to a dingy hotel room in a distant city to have a bloody, scraping, kitchen-table abortion. She dedicated her life to working with cancer patients, perhaps as atonement for some perceived guilt, perhaps because she understood some broader dimension of suffering. Some people respond to their suffering – their crosses by insulating themselves further. But some, like the lady in the cancer ward respond differently. She did not deny her pain. She did not run from it. She accepted it, embraced it, and saw how it made her one with others who knew pain and suffering. Because she had felt death inside her, she chose to share herself with others who were feeling death inside themselves.

Two images come to mind.  In the concentration Camp in Dachau there is a photograph of a mother with her little child.  Both of them have been condemned to the gas chamber.  The mother knows this, while the child is not aware of her destiny.  The mother’s face is full of anxiety and fear.  Her eyes look vague and her face looks gaunt.  The child is sensing her mother’s state of mind and she clings to her very tightly.  The mother’s hand is over the eyes of her child as if to say, “Don’t look, I will take care of you, I will hold you close to me, I am here.”

The second image appeared in one of our national newspapers.  It showed a young boy who was deeply burnt and who lost both of his arms after a bombing raid in Baghdad.  He is lying in bed, totally bandaged.  His mouth is half opened, probably he is moaning and his eyes stare in the open space.  He is confused, lost, afraid and feeling alone.  Next to him is a doctor with his hand on the boy’s head.  This gesture is telling the boy, “Don’t be afraid, I know it hurts, but I am here, I will take care of you.”

Good Friday is the day when Jesus is reminding us that He is constantly putting his nail -scarred hands on our heads when we are physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually in pain, and saying, “I know you are hurting, I know you are puzzled.  I know that you feel like panicking.  Courage, you are not alone.  Do not give up.  You will grow through this.  Come on let us keep going.  I am with you and I will not leave you”.  Thank you Jesus, for Your constant care and presence.

The paradox that we are the crucifiers, but we don’t admit it. This holy day is about us we notice. For we are present in all the different characters of the Passion story because we can identify with each of them, in all their confusion , their frailty, their treachery, their powerlessness, and their fear. We call this day “good” only because of ourselves. We are to die with Him on this day. Yet, He has spared us from knowing fully about all that He suffered. Christ died to save the container within us that holds His love, His grace, His mercy, and His passion. On this day of remembrance, mourning, and grief, are we not going to remember, mourn, and grieve? Sadly, for most people they will not remember, they will not mourn, and they will not grieve. “It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow, can hear the story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.” (Dorothy L. Sayers). However, when one truly loves someone with all one’s heart, all one’s soul, and all one’s might and that person suffers then one suffer with him or her. Jesus suffered as no other person suffered; His Mother suffered in spirit all He suffered, with Him. And we do love Him with as much of our heart, soul, and might as we are able to give at this moment. So, today we want to tell Jesus three things: we want to say how much we love our suffering Lord and how sorry we are for our sins; we want to say how much we love and how deeply we thank our Redeemer for taking our place and dying on the cross to set us free from sin and death; and we want to say that we will, with God’s grace, follow our Savior and beloved Brother lovingly and obediently from now on.

We need to apply the paradox of the cross in our daily lives: that it is only by “dying to self,” or “losing oneself,” that one can “find oneself.” Through death alone, we find real Life. Accepting and bearing, instead of refusing, or cursing our crosses, we find they are loving gifts from God meant to make us stronger in Christian life and more dependent on God. When we willingly forgive, instead of harboring grudges for injuries, we are freed from death and enter Life. Carrying our cross also means resisting that temptation to do what everybody else does, by, for example, not having sex before marriage and, for another example, being faithful to your spouse after marriage. Cross-bearing means putting down the remote control and picking up one’s Bible, or praying when one would rather be sleeping. Carrying our cross means asking God to help us “swallowing our pride,” get past our fear and just tell someone about Jesus. In sum, we bear our cross by doing what God wants us to do, instead of what we want to do.

Concluding anecdotes

The wrong guy: “Determined to avenge the assault of their young fourteen-year-old girlfriend, ten young people raced away from the hospital with a description of her assailant: a Hispanic man driving a red vehicle. Then by deception, the group of vigilantes lured young Leonel Cifuenies, a young Guatemalan driving a red truck, to a secluded spot outside of Carthage, Missouri and beat him with baseball bats, rocks, and clubs. The confused man played dead so the torture would stop. While being beat, Cifuenies spoke to his assailants in broken English, “Hey, guys, what happened? I don’t know you; you don’t know me. I didn’t do anything. “At the same hour, The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department had apprehended Francisco Vega, who would later be charged with the crime. The mob nearly killed the wrong guy.”– What a haunting reminder that Jesus too, was the wrong guy. “But He wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, And with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all(Is 53:5-6). Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

2)Paradox of separating religion from business: A priest had just heard a man’s confession and was pondering the man’s penance. “Are you certain you’re going to try to turn away from all sins?” “Yes, Father, I am certainly going to try hard,” replied the man. “I promise to amend my life.” “And you’re going to go to Mass regularly, especially on holy days of obligations?” the priest added. “Yes, Father, I have decided to fulfill my obligations as a good Catholic.” “How about your debts and those you have defrauded?” the priest asked. “Now, wait a second, Father,” said the man. “Now, you’re talking business, not religion!” Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

3) Paradox in the drama of Christ’s passion: The late Fr. Raymond E. Brown in his commentary on the Passion narrative wrote, “The drama of the tragedy has been heightened by contrasting one character with another.” There is Pilate, afraid of losing his popularity with the people, released a criminal, and condemned an innocent man. He sacrificed the innocent to maintain his hold on power. (This is still happening in our days. The world has not changed at all!) On the one hand, a crowd welcomed Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes as the King of Israel;” at another time, there are shouts of “Crucify him.” (Going with the flow for the sake of conformity is a sign of immaturity!) In the procession the people praised Jesus as King, and then in the passion they insulted and accused him of blasphemy. (This is a clear example of fickle mindedness!) He was welcomed into the city as King and Messiah; later on He was crucified as a criminal outside the city. The crowd struggled against each other to lay their clothes on his path; the soldiers divided his garments later. The scoffing religious elders and scribes, and the reviling passersby in Golgotha were in sharp contrast to the Roman pagan centurion who recognized him as the Son of God. He was early on hailed as Wonderworker; in the end he was judged a rabble-rouser and demagogue. (Cave canem, beware of the underdog, literally.) The Cross is not the end. The Resurrection is!” Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

4) The paradox of falling from grace: When Leonardo da Vinci was painting “The Lord’s Supper,” he chose Pietri Bandinelli an attractive young man to be his model for Jesus. The complete work took several years to finish. Later on, the final character was Judas Iscariot, and Leonardo went out looking for someone who would look as depraved and vicious. He finally found the perfect model. Later as he was painting, Leonardo sensed there was something familiar about the man. He asked if they had ever met before. “Yes, we have,” replied the man, “but much has happened in my life since then.” He said he was Bandinelli, Leonardo’s model for Jesus some time before. He had fallen from grace to a life of sin! (L-21) Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 2021.

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B, no. 24 by Fr. Tony (akadavil@gmail.com)

Visit my website by clicking on http://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle A homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies  under CBCI or  Fr. Tony for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website- http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604