Sunday, April 5, 2020
+ Palm Sunday A +
The Cross graphically shows what committed love looks like in this world. Love selflessly and you find yourself naked, nailed down.
Stand up for human dignity. The powerful will come after you. Attempt to free others for risk and for service. They will walk away.
But, alas, there is more to it than that. As Solzenitsyn wrote:
“If only it were so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil runs through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
In Jesus God embraces what we reject in ourselves and in others. He doesn’t turn away from our wounds but takes them upon himself—forgiving us all for everything.
God chooses to die for us as the only way to reveal the Father’s deathless, faithful love. Through compassion—shared suffering—we are constantly drawn into union with God and one another.
Matthew’s calm account of the Passion reminds us repeatedly: Scripture is being fulfilled. It had to be so. We are meant to see some of ourselves in each character.
Peter, who once confessed Jesus as Messiah, swears under oath, “I do not know the man!” Like Peter, the shame of our denial will lead us to depend on the Lord rather than ourselves.
Darkness covers the earth, as it had before the creation of the world. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Beginning to recite Psalm 22, the Holy Seed falls into the ground and dies.
After he dies, we quietly finish it: “My soul shall live for him, my children serve him. . .they shall tell of the Lord for generations to come . . .” We are that generation. We are those children.
The curtain separating humanity from God, Jew from Gentile is torn. Those who lived their lives in trust, who entered the tomb hoping in the Lord, are “not confounded forever.” They live.
In the darkness of the womb, a new people is being formed—a people that embraces suffering not as abandonment, but as the cost of love, a people that learns from its own weakness not to wall out the impure, but to have compassion.
Joseph of Arimathea does not miss the chance to use his possessions and risk his position to see that at least now, the Son of Man will have a place to lay his head.
The holy women keep silent watch at the tomb. They have been in labor. They have given birth. They know the joy that follows. Something inside of them is stirring.
May Easter Day find us watching at the tomb no more, with our shame at who we really are turned into confusion at how much we are loved.