We may recall a politician or perhaps a public figure, like a talk show host or famous entertainer, who has spoken out of both sides of their mouths.
As people of faith, do we speak out of both sides of our mouths when it comes to following Jesus?
This Palm Sunday gave us the opportunity today to hear two Gospels proclaimed. In the opening Gospel from St. John we hear of that first Palm Sunday. The crowds are welcoming Jesus with praises of Hosanna and Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna to the Son of David! Jesus was truly receiving "rock star" treatment. And then we hear the account of the Passion, Crucifixion and death of Jesus from the Gospel of St. Mark. We not only read, but participate in those angry words from the crowd: Crucify Him! Away with Him! We have no king but Ceaser! Give us Barrabas! Crucify Him! Remember, these were many of the same people just days earlier praising Jesus and singing Hosanna's. These people certainly are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. And we, the people gathered today, say these words out loud as we participate in this Gospel. From our lips we are asked to say these same words, Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
This is our reminder that we too are guilty of the same sin of the people of two-thousand years. We gather on Sunday and sing Him praise, we worship Him because He is our King of kings and Lord of lords. But how often do we push Him aside during the week? How often do we reject Him in our everyday hustle and bustle? When we reject others; when we are not kind to people we know or have no care or concern for our persecuted brothers and sisters, we are shouting Crucify Him! Crucify Him! We are speaking from both sides of our mouths. When we sin, we seperate ourselves from Him. When we insist on doing it our way; following our will and not the will of the Father, we too are shouting Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
On this Palm Sunday, on this day when we have heard the Passion, we can acknowledge that we too speak from both sides of our mouths but we go forward depending on God's loving mercy and forgiveness. As we leave here today, with those blessed palms as our reminder, can we pray the words from today's Gospel uttered at the foot of the cross by the Centurion: truly this man was the Son of God. May our prayer all week be our personal proclamation that for us, Jesus indeed is the Son of God! In the days leading up to our Easter celebration, we still must journey through Lent and the days of the Triduum. On Wednesday, we have the opportunity for a moment of sacramental grace at the deanery Reconciliation Service in Madisonville. There are details in today's bulletin. And Thursday, we gather as a parish family to remember the Last Supper when Jesus gave us the great gifts of the Mass, the Eucharist, the Priesthood and the gift of service in the washing of the feet. Our celebration begins at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. Please make every effort to come. And don't forget we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, at the Altar of Repose until Midnight. Then we arrive at Good Friday; will we remember this day solemnly and prayerfully? Or do we use this day as a reason to throw a lavish crawfish boil, complete with family & friends and lots of laughs? Now, I'm not against crawfish boils, and fun. But this Friday is Good Friday. It is a day to contemplate that great gift of Jesus' death on a cross for you and me! A prayer service will be offered at noon then our remembrance of the Passion begins at 3 p.m. and we will have Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m.
All these things we can do, to honor the Savior and remember His great love for us. May our week of preparation for Easter include our desire to be humble, like Jesus was humble, becoming obedient to the Father, to the point of death. Like Jesus, may our humility help us to empty ourselves of excessive worldliness, and accept the gifts of Jesus' great love.
Following Jesus' example, may we not speak out of both sides of our mouths. Instead, may we proclaim with one loud united voice, as we heard in today's second reading: Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!