On the Cusp: A Homily by Deacon Jim Hyatt

So here we are on Palm Sunday, on the cusp of Holy Week. We just heard the moving story of the Passion of Jesus, which is what we will live through this week. Holy week, what we have prepared for… the fasting, the penance, and works of charity so that we can be ready for this week. To be ready though, requires us to live with our Savior this week and see what he sees. To live with the disciples and see it through their eyes, live with them through the highest of highs and lowest of lows. To live with and experience the emotions, the drama, the deceit, the politics and the fear… and do you know what else? The love. For all of the vivid images of the stories from this week, we sometimes forget of the love that underscores it all. The incredible love Jesus Christ has for the disciples and followers, and for all of us! 

Palm Sunday – Jesus is riding a donkey with people lining the street waving palms yelling, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The people along the street laid down their cloaks and palm branches on the road paving the way for Jesus.

Joy, cheering, bowing down… ecstatic that the Messiah is here at last! 

But did Jesus know? Did he know that they would in just a few days revile him? Did he know that he would be abandoned by virtually all? Fickle, weak humans that we are. The pressure rises and our instinct says to, “Flee!”, “Run away!” and they did…

Holy Thursday, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in the upper room much to their shock. When he is through, he says, “Do you realize what I have done for you? I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Incredible, he knows he is going to die and yet he teaches… And that night, he leaves us his most precious gift, himself in the Eucharist.

Good Friday, the story that is difficult to hear… fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy about the “suffering servant.” All that was predicted about him comes to pass. More anger, fear, deceit… and yet love. Through it all, love.  And then the Church is quiet, dark, lacking… missing… and we venerate the cross to say thank you for this incredible, overwhelming, and indescribable act of love. 

And Easter… the stone rolled away, the empty tomb, promises kept, and the bridge rebuilt to our salvation.

Today, we are on the cusp. We either go forward or retreat from Him. Go forward and dive headlong into a deeper relationship with our Savior, or retreat into our regular lives. I think Holy Week teaches us something about our decision of what we do on the cusp.

The disciples lived with Jesus, they traveled with him, learned from him and did his work. Well, why not us too? Why don’t we choose to travel with him this week, to learn from him and do his work? 

If not now, when? When are we going to take the steps he wants us to take?

This is the week!

Dive in, immerse yourself in the stories, live in the emotions… realize what he has done for us. 

We are on the cusp. Which way will we go?

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