Palm Sunday Homily by Father Kapaun

From Father John Hotze:

I have been remiss in sharing Father Kapaun with you. I hope this makes up for it. While it is not yet Palm Sunday, this can help us make a good Lent. Father Kapaun gives us much to ponder.

Father Kapaun Homily for Palm Sunday – We do not have the date but it was among other homilies that were given in Pilsen between 1940 and 1942.

“Pages and pages have been written concerning the character of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But in order to learn the real character of Christ, a person need not read through all that has been written on Christ -- there is one book which has an infinite store of knowledge in it - - and that book is the Crucifix upon which is seen Christ crucified. To the humble and loving soul who gazes at the Crucifix with great devotion, comes forth the inviting thought: 'Follow Me - I am the way, the truth, and the life.' the thought repeats itself - - ' Follow Me.' And immediately the soul tends to strive to picture Christ before he offered Himself on the Cross. Just a few days previous to His most cruel death, Jesus had entered Jerusalem in a very honorable way. The joyous cry of the people: 'Hosanna to the Son of David' filled the air. Jesus was universally acclaimed, except by his enemies. Rejoicing was great. But still the Holy Gospel tells us 'Behold thy King cometh to the meek.'

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, sitting on the humble ass -- the beast of burden -- He came as the King of all men; He came to fulfill the will of His Father and to enter upon His sorrowful and most cruel death for our salvation. At another time, when He came into this world on Christmas Night, He came too as our King -- but in the stillness of he night while the world cared for other things; He came then in that meekness which ever characterized Him. At this present day, Jesus, our King comes to us in His meekness which adds to the joy of Christians but becomes a stumbling block to unbelievers -- He comes to us in Holy Communion, in such a meek manner, that were it not for our faith, we would not even recognize Him -- He comes under the appearance of a small piece of bread. We admire Him and adore Him for His meekness. We pledge our allegiance to Him; we call Him our King, and we heartily follow Him.

A great leader exerts a most powerful influence over the hearts and minds of his followers. Though the task of following such a leader is most arduous in itself, yet it becomes sweet and honorable, and comparatively easy in practice when the followers consider the dignity of the leader, the relation of the leader to his followers, the motives which prompt the leader and the rewards which He offers.

Greater dignity than the dignity of Christ we cannot imagine. Christ is God the Son equal to the Father and the Holy Ghost in all things. He is our King, for God the Father sent Him to redeem us and teach us the way of salvation. His position and honor among God's people in this world is the highest. No other leader can compare in dignity with him.

Men find it easy to follow one who has endeared himself to them. A man finds it a pleasure to serve one who has saved his life. Christ has saved our lives not only from temporal harm but from eternal loss and damnation. To Christ we owe our salvation; without Him we would be dead in sin and would be headed for Hell with no help of avoiding it. To follow Christ is to follow our greatest benefactor, our greatest lover.

The motive which prompts Christ to do so much for us is His love for us. As the Christian looks at his dying Savior on the Cross, he remembers what Jesus had said while teaching men: 'greater love than this no man hath than he lay down his life for his friend.'

The rewards which Christ gives to those who follow Him are everlasting happiness with Him in heaven. Christ's reward is not like the rewards of Satan which perish in time and leave the person in a more unhappy state than before. Riches, honor, pleasure, and comfort are the rewards which Satan can give, but they do not last long, and when death comes they go, and Satan takes his prey unto himself to treat the poor unfortunate victim as he will. 'Eye hath not seen nor ear heard the things that are in store for us' is the substance of what St. Paul told his Christian followers.

Kneeling, then, before the crucifix, bring to mind these thoughts which are conveyed by it, and hearken to the invitation: 'Follow Me." Hearken to that invitation especially this week, and especially on Holy Friday from 12 to 3 P.M. sanctify those three hours, for during that time some 1900 years ago Jesus was suffering the terrible agony of the cross for our salvation. May God bless all of you - - pray for the poor Souls in Purgatory and especially for the conversion of sinners this most Holy Week."

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