Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Homily: By His stripes We were healed

When Jerry was younger – probably about 16 or 17, he was on a soccer team.  That year, they had a great season and they actually WON the sectional – so the next Saturday they would be playing the Regional. 

Well, Friday night, Jerry wanted to go out to a party with the rest of the soccer team to celebrate their Sectional win, but Dad said ‘no way’… you need to catch up on your homework which has suffered during the soccer season because of all the practices.  Jerry was mad… all of his friends would be at that party… and HE was one of the heroes of the sectional-winning team, so he’ll miss his chance to impress the girls.  He went to his room and slammed the door – fuming.  How could Dad be SO mean!  He thought about running away…I mean, obviously Dad didn’t love him.  The more he thought about it the more worked-up and angry he got.  Then he had an idea…

Dad worked 2nd shift, so he would be leaving the house around 3 pm and would get home right around midnight.  Mom had her sodality meeting that night… so he could sneak out just after she left… and neither of them would ever know about it.

As Mom left, she reminded Jerry to stay focused on the homework and try to get to bed early to get rested for the game tomorrow.  Your older brother Tom is in charge, so you listen to him. 

That’s right… Tom and Jerry… they never heard the end of that joke at school.  And they FOUGHT like Tom and Jerry did in the cartoons too.  OK, Mom… Jerry just rolled his eyes… whatever.  As soon as the car left the driveway, Jerry grabbed his coat to leave and Tom asked, “Where are you going?”  None of your business.  Well, yeah it IS my business… you heard Mom, I’m in charge and you are supposed to stay home and get your homework done.

I got some of it done and I’ll finish the rest after I get back…I’ll be back before Mom gets home.  Tom tried to stop him, but Jerry would hear nothing of it… he got into his Dad’s 1960 Corvette and took off.  Well – as you might expect, there was alcohol at this party, and even though Jerry stayed away from it, one of the other players backed his car into the Corvette.  Jerry almost got sick to his stomache….oh no!!… what will Dad say?  I’m not supposed to be here and I’m CERTAINLY not supposed to drive the Corvette!  He figured his life was over…  He drove home, parked the car in the garage and hesitantly went inside and tried to sneak to his room.  But just inside the door, Tom was glaring at him.  You’re gonna be is SUCH trouble.  I know about the dent in the Vette… one of your buddies called here looking for you since you left the party in such a hurry.  You KNOW we’re not allowed to drive Dad’s vette!  And you left the house, which Mom and Dad explicitly told you NOT to do! 

As much as Jerry tried to be a tough guy about it, he was scared of what punishment his Dad would give him.  He apologized to his brother for not listening to him…then headed to his bedroom to try to concentrate on homework, but all he could think about was the punishment which he deserved.  Dad was gonna beat him within an inch of his life!

Mom came home about 45 minutes later and he expected her to come up and start yelling, but 10 minutes later – nothing… 30 minutes – nothing… He snuck into the hall and could hear the TV on, but no talking.  Strange… wonder why she didn’t come up.  Maybe she’s leaving it for Dad to handle… yeah that’s it, she’s waiting for HIM to punish me….which means he gets to sit here and stew in his guilt for another 3 hours until Dad gets home…. Pure torture.

At midnight his Dad came into the house.  Jerry was waiting for the yelling to begin.  He was waiting for Dad to storm through the door and punish him…He fully expected to be grounded and not be able to play in the Regional game tomorrow.  He would never live that down at school… His life was over.

But 10 minutes passed…30 minutes… then his brother came up the steps and went to bed, and he could hear his parents brushing their teeth and preparing for bed.  The suspense was killing him, so he snuck across the hall to his brother’s bedroom and whispered… ‘what happened? – why aren’t they yelling?’.

His brother explained, I knew that if you got grounded, you wouldn’t be allowed to play in the Regional tomorrow – and that would be horrible.  You’ve worked so hard to be on this winning team, I couldn’t let that happen… so I told Dad it was my fault.  I’m grounded for a month and I have to pay for the repairs to the car.

WHAT?!  Why would you do that!?  Jerry felt a mix of emotions… guilt for what he had done, fear for the punishment he knew he deserved, and now gratefulness to his brother who took the punishment that HE deserved.

From that moment, Jerry gained a new respect for his brother.  They’d always fought up to that time, but now there was an unspoken bond between them – and he knew if there was ANYTHING he could do for his brother, he would. 

Jesus is our older brother.  He took the punishment upon himself for our sins against God… our Father.  By His Stripes, we were healed…upon him was laid the punishment WE deserved.  How do we respond to that?  Like Jerry, once we realize how much our older brother has done for us, we are grateful – and we will do ANYTHING we can for him.

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