Friday, March 18, 2016

HOMILY for the PROCESSION with PALMS by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

We started this Lenten journey
reminding ourselves that we are made of stardust
and will return to stardust.
We set about fine-tuning our habits
to bring our lives more closely in step
with the Way that Jesus teaches.
Now, as we begin the ritual celebrations
of this holiest week of the year,
we hear that, if we, as followers of Jesus,
do not proclaim the word,
the very stones will cry out.
We must proclaim our experience of God.
We must give witness to our life in God.
So here we are this afternoon—
living stones singing out in praise and petition,
ready once again to be radically transformed
through the power of God’s spirit
alive among us and with us and in us.


Starting April 7, Fr. Jim Bacik
will present a series of lectures over at the Franciscan Center
on the pictures of Jesus that we get from each of the Gospels.
His titles give us an important clue about our scriptural tradition:
--in Mark's Gospel, Managing Our Demons.
--in Matthew's Gospel, Reforming the Church.
--in Luke's Gospel, Working for Justice.
--in John's Gospel, Improving our Personal Relationships.
Fr. Jim's titles point out that our scriptures,
written down 40 to 70 years after Jesus died,
document very different ways
that Jesus' followers understood him
and interpreted his teachings
according to the needs of their communities.
What we know for sure about our Palm Sunday Gospel reading
is that Jesus went to Jerusalem,
came to the attention of authorities there,
was arrested, and was put to death.
After that, Jesus' disciples experienced his spirit still with them,
and they tried to tell others about their experience.
In today's way of speaking,
we'd say they tried to process what had happened,
to make sense of it.
And in order to do that,
they followed the pattern of their own ancestors in faith,
finding patterns in their holy writings
that made sense of Jesus' life and teachings and death,
and their experience of his presence among them afterward.
The lesson for us is not, as some have erroneously put it,
that God sent Jesus to die to ransom us from our sins.
The lesson is that we are called to live the way that Jesus taught.
That is, we are to pray and discern.
We are to live in the conviction that God is in charge.
We are to take action for justice.
We are to speak the truth about oppression,
no matter what the powerful say about it.
We are to keep at it,
no matter what.
As followers of the Way,
we are ready to stick with Jesus,
all the way from here to Calvary.
So we're resolved to lay down our lives for one another
by living the way Jesus lived
as best we can.
Living in Ohio, or Michigan, these days,
it's not very likely that we'll be killed
for stepping up or speaking out,
for honoring our beliefs and persevering
in spite of any personal cost.
We know from the evening news
that some people here in the U.S.
are more likely than others to be attacked, even killed—
black people gathering for Sunday service,
or transgender people walking down the street,
or Latinos working in the fields.
And in some other countries,
people who stand up and speak out
are routinely gunned down or blown up or just “disappear.”
Here, most of us don't face that kind of risk.
We aren't likely to be martyred for doing what's right.
Along the way, we might lose a friend.
Or a promotion at work.
More likely we'll give up some money
that we could have spent on ourselves
or saved for our kids to inherit.
Or we'll give up some time
that we could have spent having fun
instead of helping others.
We'll do
whatever we can
where we are.
We'll give up our lives following the Way of Jesus,
spending ourselves in works of peace and justice,
And when, eventually, we return to stardust,
we will shine for ever.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

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