Homily for March 23, Wednesday of the II week of Lent
Click here for the podcast version of the homily.
Sometimes when we have a bad day, it can feel like the whole world is conspiring to make us miserable. Not that we really think that everyone is intentionally out to get us, but it just seems like everything that could go wrong, does. Sometimes the most frustrating part is that everyone else seems to be blissfully ignorant of our difficulties and the goals we are trying to achieve. Going on their merry way, they move too fast or too slow, they interrupt us and seem to get in the way, and just make the situation worse.
Often when we feel like that, it is because we did not get a good night’s sleep, or we are low on caffeine because we have given up coffee for Lent, or we are just being unrealistic and too self-centered. But that was not the case for Jesus. Most people really did misunderstand Him and were – consciously or not – working against Him. And it was not just for a day or two – it was most of His earthly life.
Herod tried to have Jesus killed as an infant. Many of the Pharisees, priests and scribes, rejected the Lord right from fairly early on in His public life, and plotted His death. One of His own apostles betrayed Him. The first reading today expresses the feelings He must have had when some of the people whom He came to save set out to destroy Him. The responsorial psalm is a prophecy of Christ’s sufferings and of His trust in the Father’s plan to rescue Him through the resurrection, and includes the phrase that He quoted when He died on the cross: “into Your hands, I commend My spirit.”
As we hear in the Gospel today, even His own disciples did not fully understand His mission during His lifetime. He explained to them that He would not have a political kingdom in this world, but quite the opposite – He would be tortured and killed, and then rise again; and yet, they come to Him seeking places of power and authority in what they imagine as an earthly royal court. He gathers all the apostles together to make the point once and for all. He states quite clearly that He came to suffer for our sake; to serve, not to be served. Christ’s kingdom isn’t about seeking power and glory as the world understands it; it is about unconditional love, giving of ourselves to others without expecting a reward in this life.
That requires a tremendous amount of faith in God. May He help us through our Lenten sacrifices to grow in our belief in the much greater reward of finding fulfillment in God’s plan, and of eventually receiving the eternal joy promised to us in the heavenly kingdom.
Thank you Fr. Matt, for this lovely sermon. It contains all the right words I needed to hear. I felt God speaking to me through this one!