Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on there is a way that we can use the same techniques as the Hatfields and McCoys to have a peace filled life. What?! Listen to this podcast of his reflection for Palm/Passion Sunday to find out. Please read John 8:1-12. For Audio, “Read More” below. #GreatCatholicPreaching #Catholic #BenU1887 #GreatPreaching #Luke22:14-23:56 #PalmPassionSunday
For Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 3/24/2013 Palm Passion Sunday.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 22.14-23.56.
Has anything awful ever happened to you that when you think of it, it is like reliving the whole thing over again? No matter how much time passes, the event is so real you feel like it is happening all over again, even though you are just remembering it? Your mind recalls some new injustice about the event in the past that just pounds the nails even deeper into your hands. Your blood pressure goes up. You start to get angry again. Then you start to treat everyone around you badly or differently because you are so upset by that event that happened so long ago. Again, it is as if it happened just a few moments ago all over again. This experience that you are having, my friends, this is your soiree into eternal time.
In eternal time, eternal events happen and stay there forever. We may go on in our lives and do more things, but that eternal event stays put in eternal time, just waiting for us to return there to live that event again. It is as if that event just stays suspended in the heavens on a string and we go back to it over and over again, to our delight or misery. To cope with the delight or misery we share the event with others so that they can go back over and over again to our delightful or miserable eternal event.
After sharing it, we now have a “shared remembrance” to which we can all return at different times of the day and night. That shared memory of that event in the past has an impact on our lives today. In fact, after a time, like the Hatfields and McCoys, the two feuding families of West Virginia and Kentucky, taught their children to hate each other, our families are often identified by the injustices we have endured and survived. Yet, it really is too bad that we go back to that miserable eternal memory. If only there were a way that we could revisit eternal time to some event that was good and wonderful. It is too bad that we couldn’t return to an event in eternal time that helped us grow closer to Jesus Christ.
Well, there is a miserable memory that can be used for good. It is the miserable memory of Jesus going to the Cross. Jesus dying on the Cross hangs suspended in eternal time. He is the eternal being who was offered for our sins for eternity. Each time we confess our sins, they are taken to that cross suspended in time. Those sins are put on the back of Jesus who is our sacrificial Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. This is why St. Luke tells us that the curtain of the Temple was torn in two.
Jesus, eternal God and temporal man, was offered for our sins, once, for all time. There is no need to repeated sacrifices at the Temple because Jesus is the eternal sacrifice. Do you remember the personal event in our lives that is suspended in eternal time to which we return with our family and friends? Well, the event of the Crucifixion hangs suspended in eternal time for us to return with our sins and offer them up on Jesus’ back at that moment of sacrifice.
Now we may feel a sense of guilt at heaping our sins on our Lord at the sacrifice, and maybe that guilt will work in us to stop us from sinning, but he came to bear our sins at that one eternal sacrifice. He came in innocence so that the guilt of all could be put on his shoulders as he hung on the Cross for all people for all time.
As you know from my reflection last week, my favorite novel is To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel is a classic example of how a young, shy and strange man is the subject of rumors and innuendo. Boo is a young man who lives down the street in a dark foreboding house. Much more a victim of his surrounding neighborhood and the fact that he is different than others, he is judged and found guilty by a court of children and adults. Yet, he remains silent throughout the book. When the young girl named “Scout”, the main character and narrator of the book, is hurt, it is the dark, shy and imposing young man named Boo, played by Robert Duvall in the movie, who saves the girl who has played a part in his ridicule.
In my further reflection of how To Kill a Mocking Bird has characters similar to the Gospel, much the same happens to Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke as happens to Boo Radley in the book. By keeping silent, Jesus takes upon himself all the charges that are against us. It is we who claim to be the kings and queens of our lives. It is we who claim to know better than God. It is we who reject Torah as lived in the person Jesus Christ. If we read the story from Luke more closely we see that whenever Pilate tries to set him free, the people roused by the leaders of the Temple insist all the more that he die. He is innocent, but accepts the guilty charge for us. He takes the guilty verdict that rightfully belongs to you and me. He takes that guilty verdict to the Cross to hang eternally as an eternal memory that is a perpetual offering to the Lord who gives us forgiveness of sins in return.
If only we could return to this event on the cross over and over! If only we could put our sins on Jesus who is hanging there and take back with us the forgiveness offered in the cross! If only there was a way that we could remember what he did on the cross and experience it areal!
There is a way, you know. That way is the Eucharist. We can take our sins that are not grave to him and place them on his back in this meal.
When we return to the Cross in the Eucharist we are going back to that event when Jesus died two thousand years ago. When we go, we are returning with all of our baggage to the scene of Pilate and Herod interrogating Jesus. We are returning to the time when he stood there and did not refuse any of the accusations, but let them be understood as truth. By letting all the false accusations stand as truth, Jesus is taking them upon himself. So, when we return to the false accusations, we can take our current sins, lack of forgiveness, anger, hurt, sorrow, pain and all else that hinders us and let them be lifted onto Christ’s back by the Pharisees and Scribes.
Then he takes them to the cross and lets them die with his body. We can relive this moment with him every time we celebrate the Eucharist. We take these sins with us when we hear the words, “This is my body, given up for you.” We can take our disappointments in life to the cross when we hear the words, “This is my blood poured out for you.”
Just imagine if those people who took guns to our schools to kill out of their pain over the last fifteen years had known that they could have taken their rejection and fear to church on Sunday and give it to the Lord! What if you took your pain and misery, when you received the Lord’s body and blood and offered it up in prayer during the moment that the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and cup to make his presence real? What if you left all your pain and sorrow, tough work days, tough days with the kids, tough lives and tough times right there? Well, you would be leaving it so that Jesus could take your burden to the Cross suspended in eternal time and you would then receive forgiveness and peace offered back because of his eternal sacrifice.
This is the glory of participating in the Holiest of Communions. This is why he commands us to “take and eat, for this is my body….and blood given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” What a glorious returning to the eternal event on the Cross by taking and eating in remembrance of the eternal sacrifice of Jesus’ blood.
I used to say that for the Hebrew mind remembering makes it so. That is how it is in life. When we repeatedly remember the bad times, we relive them and the hatred we have grows deeper and deeper. As St. Paul says, when we remember Christ, we remember him crucified so that we can lay our burden upon the eternal sacrifice of Christ. When we remember the sacrifice that takes away our sins in the Eucharist, we are healed by the grace of Christ which works through the Holy Encounter.
So the gift of the eternal sacrifice is celebrated this week. Come, taste and see that the Lord is good to a Church near you. Amen? Amen.
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