|Sally Brochu ARCWP shares Homily Starter|
|Mary Montavon presents a stole she made to Sally Brochu ARCWP|
|Mary Montavaon presents a stole she made to Janet Blakeley ARCWP|
Our Gospel today is our stepping off point for today’s homily starter. The very endearing image of Jesus saying “How often have I desired to gather your children as a hen gathers her brood under her wings”. You may have noticed the photo on the liturgy as well as the stole on the altar showing this image. It is a beautiful image of Jesus trying to protect the people he loved and had the deepest desire to empower them and draw them out of the dominating injustices that affected their lives. As I see it, Jesus knows fully well that he is danger of being killed and that it was imminent. He was warned even by some Pharisees. I’m sure he was reflecting on his life at this point, on what he so passionately tried to teach, and how he lived what he taught. As we hear in the first reading, Elijah healed a widow’s child. Jesus did that too and healed many others. He lifted them up and empowered them in so many ways. We can do the same!
We learned so clearly last weekend when we had the opportunity and gift of hearing John Dominic Crossan speak about who this Jesus was. I, for one, was introduced to a very different Jesus about whom I was taught. Oh, I caught glimpses of this Jesus over the years, but not to the extent that I heard from not only from Crossan in his lectures but from our Book Discussion Group on Crossan’s Book “The Last Week”. This is a Jesus who was a real activist; a man with a very specific agenda; who spoke truth to power; who tried to change what he saw as unjust; who stepped outside of the imposed rules; who loved unconditionally. He made people, especially people in authority very uncomfortable because the people were listening carefully – carefully enough that the authorities felt their power threatened. Theirs was a Kingdom of Domination where any threat to their authority needed to be crushed to maintain order and to remain in power - unchallenged.
Our second reading from Crossan’s book “Who Killed Jesus?” speaks so clearly of this Jesus who challenged, who loved, who dared stand up to authority. Crossan called Jesus life and teachings The Kingdom Movement, clearly the opposite of Caesar’s Kingdom of Domination. Crossan says that Jesus presence was so empowering that the Easter faith that is at the core of our beliefs didn’t start on Easter Sunday, but to quote Crossan “started among his first followers in Lower Galilee long before his death, and precisely because it was a faith of empowerment rather than a faith of domination, it would survive and, in fact, negate the execution of Jesus himself…It was the continued presence of absolutely the same Jesus in an absolutely different mode of existence”. Powerful words to think about.
Knowing this Jesus, should change our lives; should compel us to speak up against injustices; should prompt us to love all of our neighbors as ourselves; should set aside our ego and arrogance and allow the immeasurable love of God to touch our lives and give us strength. We can grow into being fully human just as Jesus did. To do this we have to embrace love and justice together. We also know there will be consequences.
This is Lent and we have the opportunity to reflect how we want to live our lives moving forward. Lent isn’t just about giving something up. It can be a time of transformation if we allow it – to see things in a new way.
So, then the question, how do we put this into action and follow Jesus – this Jesus who has a strong sense of justice and who is fearlessly motivated to seek change and seek justice by fully loving each of us?