BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | March 25, 2018
See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.
Was it that much of a crime?
King of the Jews
Was it really worth executing a man?
It seems a fair question, right? I mean we just take for granted so much of what we hear today because we have been listening to it for so long that we know every twist and turn.
But what if we stopped for a moment and really thought about Jesus’ crime.
What exactly was it about Jesus’ kingdom that was so threatening to so many.
And I believe the answer to that question is woven throughout the Gospels.
And yet, it is an answer that we so often miss.
For we have sanitized Jesus. We have made him into our own image and likeness. Assuming that he looks like us, thinks like us and makes all the same choices we would make.
Watering down what makes him uncomfortable.
Conveniently skipping over the parts of the message that we would rather not confront
Slowly converting “the kingdom” into our own individual kingdoms of which we are king and Jesus kindly blesses our endeavors.
But what if this year, we actually dared to meet the Christ who was crucified that day and let him remind us of the kingdom as He built it.
A kingdom where those on the margins were esteemed and those in positions of power were challenged.
A kingdom where all of the traditional marks of power were rejected: Wealth, Status, Honor, Family Relations
A kingdom where greatness was measured in one’s willingness to serve
A kingdom that was greater than any of our individual dominions. A kingdom that took precedent over our parish and our church, over our school, over our workplace, over our nation, our family, our city, our party.
A kingdom rooted in justice and peace, forgiveness and compassion, and unconditional love.
What if we dared to build that kingdom my friends?
But I warn you. This work is dangerous.
For when you begin to uplift those on the margins, you too may find yourself on the hill at Calvary. When you stand with the refugee and the prisoner. When you cry out on behalf of the homeless and the foster child. When you march on behalf of the discriminated and the persecuted. You will be rejected and scorned.
When you begin to challenge those in power, you too may find yourself on the hill at Calvary. When you question the sacred tenets of your church or your country, your political party or your family when they conflict with the message of the Gospel. You will be told you are wrong. You will be called a heretic. You will be threatened to conform, to be silent. You will be called a traitor and worse. And if you do it long enough, you will find yourself quite alone.
You may even find yourself resonating with the one line of Scripture that always haunts me.
My God, My God, Why have you abandoned me?
For you too will know what it is like to walk the lonely road to Calvary.
Do we really dare to build the kingdom? Do we really dare to follow Christ and make him our one and only king?
This is your choice, my friends. And yours alone. But as for me and my house. We shall serve the Lord.
May God be Praised.
Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted regularly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons