Monday, April 14, 2014

Meditation for Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion

If you could have a superpower, what superpower would you have?
This is a common question put to children to get their brains going.
Some would fly.
Some would see into other people’s minds so they could get all the right answers on tests.
Some would end hunger and poverty or have the power to defeat evil.
The question pushes us beyond the boundaries of our mundane lives
into the realm of possibility, promise, and power.
We are encouraged to dream big.

Dream big, Jesus, urge the flesh, the world and the devil.
Dream big, Jesus, urges even the Church -
for it is the religious people who are the most temptation to Jesus.
You are the Son of David, the rightful King, proclaims the crowd.
Lead the victorious revolution
which will overwhelm our enemies.
You are the Messiah, says Peter.
This shameful death shall never happen to you.
We will defend you with the sword,
and you will take your rightful place as the king.
Aren’t you the Son of God? jeer the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.
Come down from the cross, then – show us your superpowers,
and we will worship you.

After all the miracles,
wouldn’t it have been the greatest miracle of all for Jesus to descend from the cross?
But ultimately, all Jesus’ miracles flowed from his love.
The only superpower Jesus has is love.
Love for his Father, love for his disciples, love for the people, love for his enemies.
The only way to exhibit that love was not in an act of power,
but in an act of submission.
Sin is not defeated by judging it, but only in forgiving it, in taking it on.
Death is not defeated by avoiding it, but only in undergoing it and being raised from it.
Evil is not defeated by a demonstration of power,
but the greatest power is to surrender, so that evil may be shown to be evil
and to have no power at all.

‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,’ Paul wrote to the Philippians.
‘who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God as something to be grasped,
making himself nothing,
taking the form of a slave,
being found in human likeness.
And being found in human likeness,
he emptied himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.’

If we must dream big, let us dream of having the power to love,
for this is the only hope of the world.
The world demanded, and still demands, a superman.
God gave us a servant, and still more, a Savior.
Thanks be to God.