HOMILY OF SUNDAY OF THE 6TH WEEK IN LENT
Matthew 21:1-11, Isaiah 50:4-7, Philippians 2:6-11, Matthew 26:14-27:66
THEME: THE PASSION OF CHRIST
Today, the church of Christ celebrates the Palm Sunday which centres on the sufferings of Christ according to the gospel of St Matthew.
Jesus began making himself clearer to his disciples, knowing his time was near. His glorious entrance into Jerusalem showed how ready he was to bear his cross. It was quite a painful experience yet, he prepared his mind, since it was the will of his father. While making preparations for his Passover meal, he said, “My time is near.”
He said to the disciples “One of you will betray me.” Most times we’re betrayed by those close to us. A stranger cannot be a betrayer. Because betrayal comes from those we trust. Trust entails closeness. Hence, let’s take consolation in Jesus anytime we are betrayed by our friends. That is one of life’s realities. Most of life’s betrayal are steps to the next higher levels.
LOVE IN AGONY
Despite the agony awaiting him, he gave himself as a gift to the disciples.
“Take it and eat; this is my body. Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, saying: Drink, all of you, from this, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.”
Sharing our life with those who are capable of abandoning or betraying us requires deep love. Jesus did share his life in a loving way regardless of the unpleasant circumstances around him. He looked beyond his anguish and did what is true to his nature as the loving Saviour. We too can still face the problems of the world squarely and still retain our sanity. He took his time to strengthen the disciples; he expected the denial of Peter, yet he was not disturbed. He looks at human weakness with loving compassion.
He knew his death could not be stopped, nonetheless, he went on to pray. He needed the strength to bear the sufferings that awaited him. He equally needed to pray for his disciples so they would get the strength to continue the life he gives amidst the persecutions and challenges awaiting them.
Can we pray for others when we know that we too need prayers? Can we help others to manage their pains while we are in our own pains too? Jesus has the answer. Problems will never end in the world. We must help others even though we need help as well. We too are like the wounded Messiah, who heals us with his stripes and wounds.
CALLING THE BETRAYER A FRIEND
He called Judas who came to betray him friend. On our part, we often tag the ones who play the real roles of friends as enemies. If we play our life’s script according to God’s designs, other actors around us become friends. We are in the set together as each plays his or her own role to bring the story to an end. In the drama of life, we must choose our roles wisely.
DON’T FIGHT EVERY FIGHT
We mustn’t fight every fight. He told his disciple,
“Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?” We need wisdom to use our power. There are times when the negatives vibes we get are part of our life’s scripts. It takes wisdom to know those moments. By knowing the lots marked out for us, we are able to pass through them with peace of mind.
ENGAGING THE ENEMY FRIENDS
We can simply engage our adversaries when they are unleashing terror on us. God can use our responses to change their life later on. But if we prevent them from approaching, we may never have the time to engage them. The Lord simply said, “Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me.” We need to secure rooms for dialogue in the battles of life. Some of the people who stand against us are ignorant of our identity. It’s good at times we give them the room to come close so that they can have a feel of us. before the high priest Jesus said, “The words are your own. Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” He used every opportunity to pass his message across to the people.
THE WAGES OF SIN
There on the cross, the Lord shouted, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me? When we get used to sin, we find ourselves in the desert of sin and we think God has deserted us. Similarly, Jesus felt what exactly sin does to us and he screamed, because he put our sins upon himself even though he was sinless. God is always present to us, but sin separates us from him. We can say no to sin so that we always behold his beautiful presence. By his sufferings and death, he has purchased life for us. We ought to learn from him how to go through life’s challenges, lest we suffer the wages of our sins.
May his life, suffering and death remain the joy of our life. May the glory of the cross lift us out of the dungeon of sin. Amen.