Passion Sunday 2014

Take Up One’s Cross simple cross

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, Our Strength and Our Redeemer.


Think of the noise and excitement of the Stanley Cup parade
think of the relief and excitement of the announcement of the end of World War 2
think of the hope

If you have ever worked in a political campaign, been on the team for a winning candidate and party as the results are being announced;
there is excitement and hope,
hope for a better future
the dreams of future opportunities.

We started today with the Liturgy of the Palms.
There is lots of excitement and hope
shouts of hosanna
waving palm branches
spreading cloaks on the dusty road
and there is hope
hope for a king
a human king
for a soldier and a warrior
someone who will drive away the Romans
so that the Israelites are left in peace to rule themselves, to live their lives in the manner called for in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

Jesus personifies the people’s hope for the future

We want to join in
we want a better future, free from whatever oppresses us – sickness, depression, economic concerns, whatever it might be.

And now we have just heard the Passion story.
Yet through the entire story as Matthew tells it
did you notice that Jesus speaks very little
he doesn’t respond to the questions or the abuse.

Instead we are invited to remember what Jesus has said in the past few days since the triumphal entry

We haven’t heard it in today’s reading but Matthew tells of the many events that occurred in the few days between the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the subsequent arrest.

Jesus overturns the tables in the temple courtyard and expels the money changers.

And then Jesus is back the next day teaching in the temple.
Teaching that is in conflict with the chief priests and the elders.
Jesus tells them that outcasts are better suited to heaven;
that tax collectors and prostitutes better suited than those people who think that they are right

Jesus speaks about the necessity of love and compassion as an expression of God’s presence in the world

Jesus explains that right relationship with God is inextricably tied to our willingness to love each other
the necessity to give to the least what we give to God

Some of the few words that Jesus speaks are the one while he is hanging on the cross:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Perhaps Jesus has said enough and now we must remember.  What if his prolonged silence and painful cry from the cross is really intended to call us toward a life of vocation and embolden us to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, stand in solidarity so that anguished cries might cease?  May be Jesus’ cry is not his alone, but a timeless cry on the behalf of millions of suffering people who have felt and will feel forsaken by God and humanity, lest someone answer their call.  Perhaps his anguished cry is intended to touch us at the core of our being so that we, his present-day disciples, may remember his teachings and endeavour to live within them.

It is easier to close our eyes, to avert our eyes from those who suffer, from the story of the passion.

But … we have a hope, a hope given to us through the Good News of the Gospel
a hope for ourselves,
And it is a hope that we can share with others

Our hope is more than the hope of those who shouted Hosanna as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

It is a hope that comes through Jesus Christ and him crucified

It is easier to skip the services this week
to jump from Palm Sunday and hosannas
to Easter Sunday, the resurrection and alleluias

But there is no resurrection without the death,
there is no resurrection without the crucifixion

To go from hope for a soldier warrior, a human being
to as the witness observed that “Truly this man is God’s Son.”

I invite you to participate in remembering what Jesus did for us.  And afterwards we can stand in solidarity with all those who cry out in anguish.

To walk the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday allows the joy of Easter Sunday to shine even brighter.

Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross.  May we remember all that he taught us and all who suffer may know your love through our actions.  Amen.

Reference:       Matthew 27:11-54

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