Message: Prayer opens the heart to Jesus, to desire union with him, to thank him for what he has done for us. As a reminder I encourage you to take home a blessed palm.
Welcome to Holy Week! Those who have come to Mass during Lent know that I gave a series of homilies on Prayer and Spiritual Combat: What prayer is and how to pray. I promised that on Palm Sunday I would state the purpose of prayer. Why pray? What's the ultimate goal of prayer? I can answer by recounting a conversation:
Once someone asked a man if he had a "personal relationship with Jesus." The man replied, "I don't want a personal relationship with Jesus. I want a personal relationship with Mary. With St. John and with the saints in heaven and on earth, I want a relationship. But with Jesus I want union!"
Perhaps the man overstated. For my part, I do want to walk with Jesus, talk with him, have friendship with him, but much more, I want union with him.
That's why Jesus came: to unite us with himself. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus says, "I am the bridegroom." And as we see today, at the end of his earthly ministry, he takes bread and says, "This is my body given for you." Jesus died on the cross not just because we need a friend, but because we need a savior!
Prayer opens the heart to Jesus, to desire union with him, to thank him for what he has done for us. As a reminder I encourage you to take home a blessed palm. Put the palm in a special place - behind a crucifix or a sacred image. The palm which we lifted high will help you remember Jesus' victory - the assurance of your final union with him.
As we prayed at the beginning of Mass: "Being made by his grace partakers of the cross, may we have a share also in his resurrection and life." Amen.
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