Saturday, March 19, 2016

Homily Palm Sunday 2016: The Stones are still crying

Anybody been watching all of the political primaries going on this year?  Youd almost have to live under a rock to NOT hear about it.  Seems to be all the News talks about.  Well, to understand the Gospels, imagine with me that Jesus was part of the political primaryJesus is a candidate for President!  With that in mind

Listen again to what the crowd was crying out as Jesus entered Jerusalem:

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, Teacher, rebuke your disciples.if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!

Who are these people waving palms and screaming for joy as their candidate enters Jerusalem?  They were getting so rowdy and shouting SO loudly that the Pharisees told them to shut up.

It reminds me a lot of a political rally... Everybody gets worked up into a frenzy, and people who normally would be silent and grumpy with their arms crossed seem to wake up and throw all of their support behind their candidate.  For some reason, politics is one of those topics that churn up a lot of emotion in us so we will do and say things that otherwise we would consider well uncivilized.  If anybody in the crowd tries to speak contrary to MY candidate or tries to point out the lies being told, they risk being lynched by the mob. 

Most candidates today court us with catch phrases, real us in with rhetoric, and pandered to us with promisesand for some, Our fears are fanned into flame by words of hate.

Not Jesus as a candidate, He speaks of Love.  He speaks of Truth.  But more than words He goes on to prove He IS from God by the miracles he worked like when he healed that crippled guy in the Temple on the Sabbath.  It was enough to convince the crowd in Jerusalem, at least for a day.that Jesus is the King.  It wasnt based on rhetoric or flowery speeches.  They have SEEN for themselves what he can do.  They were SO convinced, they took to the streets waving palms and shouting HOSANNA! 

But where were these people one week later when the crowds cried CRUCIFY HIM!  Unfortunately, a lot of them were the same crowd.  How could they go from Hosanna to Crucify in one week?

Well its similar to our current political situation. 

No matter what a candidate says, It can be hard even impossible - to decide if they are a good candidate.  It seems its no longer about what a candidate will do, but about what the other candidates have done wrong.  Everyone is quick to point a fingerto try to make us afraid of how bad things will be if the other candidate wins.  People throw doubt and hate into the decision by presenting their own versions of the truth, half-truths, and even outright lies. 

Youve seen this happen, havent you?  Often, somebody takes one truth and puts their own spin on it... posts it on Facebook or CNN with a suggestive title ... And suddenly thousands of people have their opinion formed and set in stone... Few people actually read the article, and even fewer check the facts to see if the article is true.  The HEADLINE is what sets our opinion. 

This is nothing new though...

I imagine some Pharisee from the Jerusalem Daily Gazette - sitting with his iPhone typing up an article declaring that Jesus is OBVIOUSLY evil because he broke the Sabbath.  The headline just says, Jesus, the impostor, Breaks the Sabbath... The average Jew would think well I 'thought' Jesus was the one, but OBVIOUSLY Jesus CANT be the Messiah if He broke the Sabbathand it was a chief Priest who wrote the article, so it MUST be true.  Suddenly, public opinion is turned against him.  The facts dont seem to matter:  The HEADLINE is the opinion former nobody actually reads the article or checks the facts to understand that Jesus broke the Sabbath by curing a crippled man.  Even a MIRACLE can be twisted into something bad.  Perhaps that could explain why the same crowd that shouted HOSANNA one day turned against Jesus by the end of the weekthey were swayed by the headlines.

Put yourself in that political rally with Jesus the candidate for King.  Which side of the crowd are we on?  Do we WANT Christ as OUR King?  Think seriously about that:

Does Christianity have ANY impact on our decision about who should be our leader?   

Like the crowd in the Gospel, we've allowed the world to rebuke us to be silent.  Anybody speaking Truth with Love will get squashed but Jesus promised, if we keep silent, the stones will cry out!  You and I are called to join the stones in continuing to declare as loudly as we can... With our tongues, with our knees, with our votes, and with the way we live, that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD and King. 

Yes, even today, the stones still cry out.because people have stopped shouting for Jesus.

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