Jim Mayzik SJ                   Everything Matters
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Current homilies

No cross, no glory.

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Palm Sunday B 4/14/19 PROCESSION HOMILY  E 10, 12, 7:30 J MayzikSJ

I’m thinking about those cloaks they threw down on the muddy ground.

Throwing your cloak onto the ground was a sign of submission and showing respect. They were pretty important pieces of clothing. It was a long kind of jacket/shirt, which they also used as a covering to sleep under at night. And most ordinary people only had one of them, so throwing that down on the ground into the dirt and mud to be walked over by a parade of donkeys and people was a big deal.  Would you throw your Canada Goose or Armani jacket onto 2nd Avenue if the President came rolling by? 

I’m thinking about what they shouted.  “Hosanna!” 

It means “Save Us!”  Save us from what? From the mortgage bills, the credit card bills, the tuition bills? Save us from poor medical care, from unfairness and injustice because of our skin color or our gender, or our sex?  Save us from a broken political system? Save us from a church that has lost its way? Save us from broken marriages, estranged brothers and sisters, prodigal children, from awful illnesses, from drugs and alcohol and sexual addictions, from meaningless lives, lack of love? Save us from hatred, and violence, and war?

I’m thinking about that donkey. The one that they borrowed so that Jesus could ride his way on it into the city. 

I see him as an old one, graying around the mouth and eyes and ears, and on his belly.  Bony, slumped in the middle.  Walking slowly with a little arthritis, head down, silently doing his job of carrying freight, as he has done for many years.  If he was a car, he’d be a rusty, tailpipe-dragging, engine-hesitating 1979 Ford Bronco with a cracked windshield. Pitiful ride into town. Not what you would expect of a candidate for Messiah.

And I’m thinking about the guy riding on top of that pathetic junk heap of an animal. Small, undistinguished, maybe even a little bit homely, to put it charitably.  At first glance, a face only a mother could love.  The donkey and its rider, well-matched.  This is the guy?   

Save us!  Save us!  Palms waving wildly, whistles and hooting and hollering, cloaks flying onto the road just ahead of the parade.  Save us, we nominate you, our new Messiah.

That’s how the week began. The week we call Holy.

They were giddy, excited, pumped up on the prospect that He would change it all, make it all better.  Snap—like that!  Instant revolution. 

But there is a cost.  More than a jacket thrown down on 2nd Avenue.  And he never pretended otherwise.  Follow me, he said.  Hop on this broken down ass, and I will take you to a place where we will all be saved.   

But leave behind everything you think you need.  Even your life. 

No cross, no glory.  No cross, no glory.  No cross, no glory. 

This is the week.  This is how you prove that you really want to be called a Christian.  It’s not about going to church every Sunday, saying your prayers properly, following the doctrines and the rules perfectly.  No, no.  That’s just the cloak on the ground.  That’s the easy faith. 

This, this road, the one that leads to that---following this road is what he meant from the very beginning. Giving it all up—what you want, what you dream about, what you love---that’s the Holy Road to real freedom and happiness.  That’s the road to freedom from money problems, marriage issues, family dysfunctions, addictions, violence, sadness, hatred, anger, injustice, war, political brokenness.  It’s the road to life, but real, glorious life, not what the world tells us is living. 

No cross, no glory.  No cross, no glory.  No cross, no glory.

Shall we follow him?   Shall we?

JAMES MAYZIKComment