Sunday, March 20, 2016

When their power is gone. . .

The Sunday of the Passion begins with palms and hosannas.  For us that means a trip outside (weather permitting) and some steps to remember the journey that led our Lord into the city where He willingly went to meet the cross prepared for Him from before the foundation of the world.

The first reading this year is from Deuteronomy (32:36-39).  It begins with the solemn phrase.  The Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants... when He see that their power is gone....  Ouch.  It is my least favorite Old Testament introduction to our Lord's Passion.  The Lord will vindicate us only when He sees that our power is gone, when we abandon the illusions of our grandeur to kneel before the mystery of the Incarnate Lord who comes to die.  As long as we have gods or powers in which to take refuge, as long as we salivate at the fatback of their sacrifices and are taken in by the wine of their drink offering, we have only those to console us. 

Holy Week begins with the solemn affirmation that there is no god besides the One who comes in flesh to suffer in our place and die our death.  When we meet before this cross, then the compassion of God is revealed, His mercy is made plain, and our empty hearts find hope. 

So we have some again to the final moments of the Lenten journey and Holy Week has begun again.  Palms will be waved and hosannas shouted but before the cross there can only be one thing.  Silence.  The silence of hearts convicted, the silence of fears admitted, the silence of sins confessed, and the silence of power that is sham and shame...  There is but one who wounds and heals.  You meet Him where He reveals Himself most fully -- in arms outstretched upon the cross inviting upon Himself all our sins and suffering that we might stand cleansed, forgiven, and healed.

Happy Palm Sunday as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks in which our Lord's Passion is recalled...

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