Yes, it used to be Palm Sunday.Now it’s Passion Sunday. OK.
Pat Fitzpatrick ruminated on the Gospel as we the congregation played the parts of the brutal Passion as stated by Matthew. The 27th chapter is particularly brutal. It contains all the savagery and gross insults to the Nazarene. The whips, the Crown of Thorns etc. The mockery. We all grew up with this but it took a theologian from afar Kosuke Koyama (Japan) to contextualize this best for me.
His thinking which I believe to be incontrovertible is that Jesus is and always will be “the spat-upon Messiah.”He will not see his 34th birthday.He does not “die for our sins” (maybe with a glass iof Ovaltine by his bedside?).No he is murdered for justice, for claiming God’s reign of peace and justice. Should he succeed,the whole Roman Empire, built on an ugly foundation of masive exploitation would collapse.
Now Koyama’s next point is crucial.If Jesus is the “spat-upon” Messiah, then it must follow that the Church should be the “spat-upon Church”, the bishops, The ‘spat upon bishops. You get the point.
In other words to be a serious disciple you should expect a little saliva or at a minimum, a one finger salute for attempting to bring the values of the Kingdom into your historical epoch. Dr King was the best exponent of serious Christianity in my lifetime.Talk about “spat upon”!
Well, where is the Church today?
By and large pretty middle class, pretty comfortable, pretty risk free, pretty shy in challenging the corporate dominated values of the culture. Our Catholic grads are just as susceptible to the seductive blandishments of Empire as anybody.Life under advanced capitalism has muted the cry of God’s reign. The “soma” that Huxley talked about in Brave New World is fairly effective in putting people us into a moral coma.
That’s why it is important to hear the Story in the Palmer today.
To whom do we belong?