Bottom line: Ultimately the cross confronts each one of us. After all, "The Cross is the first letter of God's alphabet and it is written in the life of each person".
Once I asked some children if they know the first letter of the alphabet. They all responded "A."
Then I asked, "But do you know what's the first letter of God's alphabet?" After a number of guesses, I told them, "It is the cross." Pope St. John Paul said, "The Cross is the first letter of God's alphabet and it is written in the life of each person."
No one can escape the cross but you can choose how you respond. As we see today, one man responds by mockery, "Are you not the Christ?" The Messiah? "Save yourself and us." This thief knows how to see through people - to play the "gotcha" game: You're the messiah? Don't make me laugh.
It's easy to see through people - to point out their evident inconsistencies. The hard thing is to actually see the other person. This, the good thief does. It begins with humility. "We have been condemned justly." From there he recognizes it's not about me; it's about Jesus. "Jesus, remember me."
The good thief embraces the cross. For sure, it means shame and suffering. Still, the cross contains everything we need: forgiveness, healing, hope, humility. To reject the cross results in self-exultation, rage and finally, despair.
You can run, but you can't hide. Many have convinced themselves that science has disproved God's existence. It does no such thing. In the end you and I face a choice. As author Leon Bloy says, "Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil." That may sound extreme but in the first homily after election, Pope Francis uses the same quote, "Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil." We have to choose
That choice involves the cross. Ultimately the cross confronts each one of us. After all, "The Cross is the first letter of God's alphabet and it is written in the life of each person". Amen.
Audio File of Palm Sunday Homily Year C - March 20, 2016
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)
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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru