.- “There are many people who were baptized in the Catholic Church and are embarrassed to speak” about Christ in public, warned Bishop Luis Stockler of Quilmes, Argentina this week. Religion is not a private affair to be covered up, he said.
During his homily for Palm Sunday, the bishop recalled that as Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, many people wondered who He was. Believers, he indicated, should not give an emotional answer if they do not want to repeat the conduct of those who on Sunday shouted, Hosanna! but on Good Friday, Crucify Him!
Bishop Stockler explained that those who wish to silence the Christian message “continue to act with arrogance to impose their ideas.” For this reason, he encouraged the faithful not to be ashamed of proclaiming the Gospel and of bearing witness to it in public.
He pointed out that in today’s society public discourse can be about anything except religion, unless one wants to discuss controversial aspects such as the riches of the Vatican, celibacy of priests, or the role of the Church in politics. Bishop Stockler said that in this context, even the branches of Palm Sunday are accepted “as a pious tradition or a protection against omens.”
“We should not be surprised that the disciples of Jesus are met with resistance and rejection by those who do not accept the law of God,” he said. Nevertheless, the bishop noted that those “who believe in Him will be able to resist the pressure and the fear and to bear witness to their faith with courage in a hostile atmosphere.”
Bishop Stockler explained that Jesus Christ, both then and now, “manifests himself publicly but He does not impose his authority through violence.” Rather, He assumes the “condition of a slave” in order to come to us in humility, “appealing to our freedom in order to be acknowledged as the Son of God” who came to save humanity.
Lastly, the bishop invited all to truly live Holy Week, proclaiming that “the apparent defeat of Jesus on the cross is the sign of victory over evil” and that his resurrection encourages us to follow Him and “give our lives for Him.”