April 14, 2019 [ Palm Sunday]
Procession Gospel: Luke 19:28-40
• Isaiah 50:4-7 • Psalm 22 • Philippians 2:6-11 • + Luke 22:14-23:56 •
Title: Transferable / Palm Sunday
[_01_] ”Today you will be with me in paradise.” With these words, Jesus transfers this permission – “come on in …” – and invitation to the thief on the cross.
It is sometimes hard to do this transfer. I’d like to give you an example.
Several years ago, I happened to be on the same airplane and flight as a friend – really the friend of a friend. On this particular flight, my friend had been “bumped up” / “upgraded” given the great convenience of being able to fly first-class, the front of the plane.
He also told me, that he had exactly had 1 first class upgrade and, officially and technically, it was for him (his frequent flyer miles) … so he went up to first class while his wife and the rest of his family sat in economy class, in the “cheap seats” or not so expensive seats.
I’m sure none of you would do that.
Some things are not “transferable” …or not easily transferable. The airline always wants I.D. before they let you take your seat.
[_02_] Is my experience or my emotion or feeling, transferable to you, to another person?
I ask this because of the sacrifice and suffering and pain which Jesus our Savior shares our pain, shares our guilt.
Our sins were “transferred” to his account, to his profile. He knew no sin was made sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
It’s similar to the way in which a mother/father will feel/endure pain (or experience joy) that belongs originally to a child, or spouses feel or endure pain (joy) to each other or for each other. But there are limits to the charity and consolation we can extend to each other, person to person.
[_03_] In the Passion & Palm Sunday Gospel, we see Jesus willing to love us to the end – to show us our precious value and worth in God’s eyes. He forgives 7 x 70.
Our trouble, our pain, our guilty is transferable to Christ on the Cross who steps in and substitutes for our sins.
What the Lord wants us to know – moreover – is that our life – even with pain, anxiety, illness, physical illness, mental illness – has value. Our lives are often not a paradise. And, isn’t this what we want to teach our children (young people) that… even if a young person has distress, anxiety, suffering – that his or her life has value … so much so that God Himself – Jesus as human & divine – is willing to suffer and die for our sins.
In this way, we teach them that life is to be preserved, saved.
Sometimes, we see contrary examples of this. One contrary example …
[_04_] Yesterday, the state of New Jersey passed a legislative measure – a law – to permit the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for the gravely ill.
Yes, I there are restrictions in the law. I understand that. But our our lives are gift that we cannot measure statistically or control scientifically. And, we are called to teach our children that every life has value.
Moreover, is there not a danger this law – and the law “teaches” – that we could be telling young people – and young people have pitch-perfect ears for hypocrisy or pretenes – that their lives are to be preserved, protected, saved at all costs despite distress, anxiety, illness…. But that another person’s life can be ended due to illness, distress, anxiety.
Jesus has mercy on us, in this life and in the next life. He loves us so much that he dies for our sins.
[_06_] Mother Teresa put it more piously, “what you can do, I cannot do. And, what I can do, you cannot do, but together we can do something beautiful for God.”
Your life is valuable because you can love, you can pray, you can act in a way that no one else has ever done before, or will do so again. You can correct me in a way no one else can and can correct me in a fault that I may not see myself. We need each other.
Jesus needs our sacrifices, even our pain so that we can unite our pain to his. In this way, we untie ourselves and unit ourselves to Christ. We cannot transfer our pain to others, but we can give this up to God, over to God.
Jesus, I pray we recognize the value of our lives, connected to yours and that your gain may be ours, our pain may be yours. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. [_fin_]