Bishop Caggiano’s Homily for Palm Sunday

The following is Bishop Caggiano’s homily for Palm Sunday.

My dear friends,

Each time I confirm another class of young people, I admonish them, I remind them, I challenge them not to be part of the crowd, to dare to be different. And that is true, perhaps except for this week, when the church specifically asks us to find our place and voice in the crowd. A crowd which, as we begin this sacred liturgy in the back of church, we’re singing Hosana to the King. And as we just heard our voices cry out, ‘Crucify Him’.

The journey of this week we call Holy is the journey to discover where we stand in the crowd and who has the courage among us to step out of the crowd. For the brutal truth is, there have been times in your life and mine when we have sung Hosanna to the Lord, particularly in times of blessings when all goes well.

And there are times when perhaps we whispered, for we did not have courage to say it out loud because of our resentment, anger, disappointment, frustration. Perhaps we would whisper under our breath, what type of Lord is this who allows me or us to undergo so much? Perhaps we were whispering to crucify Him.

Then, my friends, how many times have you and I been in the crowd and the crowd has swept us away with whatever the crowd thought was good, best, or du jour? And how many times have you and I been in the crowd, wherever the crowd may be, and stepped back and became a faceless person? And let the crowd do the talking for us?

You see, my friends, on the day when the Lord won his victory over sin and death, there was no crowd. There was simply one woman, a penitent, converted woman who knew the depth of suffering and had the courage to step out of the crowd and to wait to greet her risen King.

So my friends, as we begin this week together, my invitation to you is the same invitation I give to myself. Can we have the courage these ways to honestly look at our place in the crowd, what the crowd has brought us to? Do you and I have the courage to step out of that crowd and walk with Jesus on our own so that He may touch us, He may heal us, He may forgive us, and He may give us voice to say for ourselves without being part of any crowd, Hosanna to our risen King.