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April 16, 2017

Homily by Cardinal Cupich for Palm Sunday

Cardinal Cupich’s Schedule

  1. April 17: 6 p.m., Emmaus dinner, Fountain Blue Banquets and Conference Center, Des Plaines
  2. April 18: noon, Opening remarks, Interfaith lunch dialogue, “Mental Health, Addiction and Trauma: Providing Hope and Healing,” Mount Sinai Hospital — Glasser Auditorium, Chicago; 4 p.m., Inaugural address, Cardinal Bernardin Forum, Loyola University, Chicago
  3. April 20: 5:30 p.m., Celebration of Mundelein Seminary, Sheraton Grand Chicago
  4. April 21: 6 p.m., Immaculate Heart of Mercy Award Banquet, International Events Center, Rochester, Minnesota
  5. April 22: 5:30 p.m., Vigil Mass, University of St. Mary of the Lake Young Adults Conference “Transfiguration: What You Need to Know About the Mass,” St. Alphonsus Church, Chicago
  6. April 23: 2 p.m., 150th anniversary Mass, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Chicago; 5:30 p.m., SPRED Dinner Dance, Drury Lane Theatre & Conference Center, Oakbrook Terrace
  7. April 29: 10:15 a.m., Mass and lunch, “Who Will Fill Those Shoes,” St. Joseph College Seminary, Madonna Della Strada Chapel, Chicago
  8. April 30: 10:30 a.m., Thanksgiving Mass, 50th anniversary of the dedication and 160th anniversary of the foundation of the parish, Immaculate Conception, Highland Park; 3 p.m., Confirmation, St. Gilbert Parish, Grayslakeago
Archbishop Cupich's Coat of Arms

Total collapse. Those words come to mind as I think of how to describe all that took place in the days we call Holy Week.

The euphoria of the hosannas in the excited voices of the crowds, rushing to get a glimpse of the one they hail as their savior coming to restore Jerusalem and their rightful place in history as God’s chosen people, evaporates, comes crashing down like a house of cards in what seems to be a nanosecond. Adulations give way to accusations, blessings to betrayals and shouts of “Hosanna” to screams of “Crucify him.” Yet, in all of this Jesus remains poised, steadfast; his face is set like flint.

The message is clear: No act of love is ever wasted, even in a moment of total collapse of our lives. That is the witness of the crucifixion. When all was lost, when he was totally abandoned by his friends, when he was fully stripped of any sense of human dignity, still grace was at work and ironically in the voice of a Roman soldier who recognized in his humiliated humanity, his divine dignity: “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”

No act of love is ever wasted, even in a moment of total collapse of our lives.

This truth should encourage us as we wrestle with vulnerability of our humanity, our sickness, our failures and weaknesses, our mortality and all the uncertainties of living in a world filled with violence and hostility. We are to respond not with fear, animosity, retribution or reprisals, but with acts of love, works of peace, signs of solidarity.

That may come in a visit to someone often overlooked because of illness or age, calling a family member who has been shunned or joining the Way of the Cross this Good Friday in Englewood to let our fellow citizens overwhelmed by violence know that they count; they have not been forgotten.

This week, the archdiocese begins a new initiative to help bring peace to our city. We do so at a time when all efforts to quell the violence seem useless, the problems so complex and the challenges so enormous; when people have lost hope because all they see around them is in total collapse. But, we also do so in a week called holy, when grace surges in us again as we look at the crucifix and are reminded that no act of love is ever wasted.

These remarks were given at Holy Name Cathedral, April 9.