Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Homily - Passion Sunday - April 6, 2014

Heb. 9:11-15; Jn. 8:46-59

Today, we begin Passiontide, which coincides with the last two weeks of Lent, including Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  The Gospel readings of this season give us the events which lead up to the suffering and death of our Lord on the cross.

If the average person were told the events creation and sin, and were asked to write a story of redemption, they might think of a great leader who rewards the good, or a warrior who destroys the wicked, or a king who reconciles enemies.  Few would think of a God who Himself intervenes in human history.  And I dare say, none would think of a God who sends His Son, proclaiming love and healing, and Who Himself dies that sinners may live.  Such an eventuality is the wisdom, not of men, but of God.

This is the drama of today’s Gospel.  Our Lord’s hearers have every kind of human expectation for the Messiah.  Jesus is revealing Himself to them.  And they are offended at His mercy to sinners; they cannot hear the word of truth which leads to life; they hold fast to Abraham, their father, without realizing that Abraham was justified by faith and the truth of God’s promise.  In the midst of all this misunderstanding, Jesus tells them something they do understand.  He says, “Before Abraham was made, I Am.”  He refers to Himself by the name God gave to Moses in the burning bush.  He reveals Himself as God.  And it is too much for them.  They pick up stones to cast at Him.  In the wonder of the plan of God for salvation, Jesus will die even for these, who reject Him.
If the Gospel treats of the identity of the Messiah, who He is, the Son of God, then the Epistle treats of what He does, the means by which He fulfills His mission of salvation.  Jesus comes as our Eternal High Priest.  What does a priest do, but offer sacrifice.  The sacrifices of the Old Testament, although efficacious for ritual purity, could only take us so far because the high priest of old could enter the Holy of Holies, but no further.  But Jesus, the Son of God, is the Eternal High Priest, Who enters a sanctuary not made by hands, but an eternal sanctuary, the presence of God Himself.  By His Blood He cleansed our conscience by the forgiveness of sins, He obtained for us eternal redemption.  Since His Priesthood is eternal, His Sacrifice is perfect.  Therefore, He need offer it only once for all time, which we commemorate and make present in this and in every Mass, through the Church, to which He has given all the means of salvation.

Jesus reveals Himself to every person.  He says to each one His name, “I Am,” so that each one of us may hear the echo of the words, “and thou art.”  By our faith and the sacraments, He recreates us in His own image and likeness, and gives us eternal life.  He hands Himself over to those who rejected Him, but He hands Himself over also to us who recognize Him, who believe in Him, and, as the Epistle says, serve the living God.  We offer to God in this Mass what Christ has accomplished in His passion and cross, the acceptable Sacrifice.  We present the world and all its concerns for His redemption, we offer ourselves in love and gratitude, and receive His transforming grace.  Our very lives are acts of worship of the Messiah come among us, the living God.