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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: April 14, 2019
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached the following homily at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock on Sunday, April 14, 2019.
As bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, I am responsible for the entire state of Arkansas, which means a lot of driving — about 30,000 miles a year. I often listen to podcasts while driving, most recently one on the history of Rome.
In so doing, I discovered something very striking: the most important events in the history of the Roman Empire — Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection — completely escaped the attention of virtually all the supposedly important people of Roman society at the time, only a handful of whose names we even know anymore.
Indeed, other than emperor Tiberius himself, the only public figures from that period whose names any of us are likely even to know today are those who had a hand in condemning Jesus, a man they knew to be innocent.
Who followed him? Humble people who knew they needed the salvation he came to offer. And that’s how Jesus operates even today. Let us lay our lives before him, not merely our cloaks, and welcome him as our king.
Three hundred years later Christianity will become the religion of Rome and dominate the remaining history of the empire, but at the time, relatively few socially unimportant people in a remote part of that empire had any knowledge of the death and resurrection of Jesus and much less, what that meant for our salvation.
Today we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and I ask you: “Who was there to greet him?” Ordinary people who saw with the eyes of faith and acclaimed him as king. Who gathered with Jesus to share the Passover meal that was his Last Supper? His simple band of unrefined apostles.
Who stayed with him all the way to the end? Just the women, who had no status in society, and John, who being the youngest of the apostles would also have been viewed as least important in a society, which valued seniority and respect for elders.
Who followed him? Humble people who knew they needed the salvation he came to offer. And that’s how Jesus operates even today. Let us lay our lives before him, not merely our cloaks, and welcome him as our king. This week we will accompany him in the events of his death and resurrection. Let us ask him to help us understand more deeply what all this means for our salvation.