Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PALM SUNDAY'S SERMON: A Rejected, Simple, Sacrificing, Suffering, Salvation (Healing) Servant

Pray, pay and obey.

Perhaps you remember hearing these words IN OTHER CONTEXTS. From church officials, for example.  No?

Jesus lives them: He seems to be always praying.

He pays dearly with his life for obeying his Heavenly Father.
And, the trek intensifies this passion Sunday of palm fronds that grow green long enough to be dried to adorn our crucifixes at home all year long right up to Ash Wednesday when we were marked with the murky, shiny, powdery remains of the cremated branches.

Those branches hailed Jesus as King of the Jews.


But, this enduring and best-told love story - look at PBS's skyrocketing viewers of the Bible recently - tragically ends, BUT, with HOPE ALONE, REMEMBER?

Look at how Isaiah speaks of one unnamed, depicting him as an obedient "servant of the Lord."  Today's first reading is one of four poems - remember the Bible is more than history and literal facts but almost mythology with stories that teach profound truths - about this rejected, simple, suffering, sacrificing, salvation (healing) one who is called to speak for God, but is ridiculed and mistreated, betrayed, and more.  You know!

He is the rejected prophet but always faithful one, something Gentile Christian hearers grasped and gripped easily.

Luke's passion account reveals the God of mercy offered for all, whether Jew or Gentile, sinner or righteous one.

They turned to violence. That is, those who charge Jesus and condemn him.  Assault weapons weren't around yet, but, untold massacres would have escalated from that point in history to accompany the 1,057,000 victims of gun violence since John Lennon's death by gunfire Dec. 8, 1980, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Where was the outrage at the slaughter of the innocence and the Innocent Lamb of God then, and now?  Why no rising up?

Jesus' own disciples turn to violence when Jesus is arrested.

One of them cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant.  Those who live by the sword die by it, is one response of Jesus in the Scriptures.

Jesus asks his Father to forgive those who know not what they do. That's while he's on the cross.
Father, forgive them!

And, then there's Dismas, the good thief who asked for paradise and gets it from Jesus:  "Today you will be with me in paradise."

The centurion's statement that "This man was innocent" returns to the theme of suffering, of pay, pay and obey.

The Lamb of God slaughtered.  The journey from ashes to Easter is all week.  Join in, will you?

Are you a Lamb of God rejected, ridiculed, suffering, sacrificial, and a servant leader speaking up against assault weapons, and other violence in and outside the womb today?

Or, are you saving yourself?

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