The following homily was given by Wayne Sigelko on Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011.
Well, once again, we’re here-in the center of it. And once again, it makes no damn sense at all.
Not talking about
-The fickleness of the crowds
-the cowardice of the disciples
-the cynicism and duplicity of the authorities-secular and religious
-the cruelty of the soldiers and the mob
All of that I get. I don’t like it, but I understand it, kind of even expect it.
What doesn’t make sense?
This is NOT how God is supposed to behave!
In Jesus, God does not die a natural death, but rather the violent death of a condemned person on the cross. At Golgotha he dies the death of complete God-abandonedness. The suffering in the suffering of Jesus is the abandonment, and indeed condemnation, by the God whom he called Father…
How could God act this way? It makes no sense, or I suppose, to put it another way, it is a Mystery.
And mysteries like this one, mysteries of the God kind are never solved. There is no Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew or even Scooby and Shaggy though our desperate efforts to make sense of it all are often comic enough, at least, when they aren’t breaking our hearts.
Mysteries of this kind are not solved, but entered into, over and over, again and again.
The mystery of suffering
The mystery of death
The mystery of where is God when the tsunami hits, or when sickness ravages a body or a mind,
Where in Christ’s name are you God, when the mobs rampage, or the torturers scourge and crucify?
Throughout our lives…in each generation…from age to age we enter into this mystery. In entering, we encounter God- without ever making sense of her. And in that encounter, at a level far deeper than understanding, we discover who we are and what we are to be.
The God-abandoned Son of God takes the eternal death of the abandoned and the damned upon himself in order to become God of the abandoned and brother of the damned. Every person damned and abandoned by God can, in the crucified one, experience community with God. The incarnate God is present and accessible to the humanity of every person. No one needs to play a role or to transform themselves in order to come to their humanity through Christ.
Today we enter into Holy Week. It is a week full of ancient symbols and actions all chosen to help us to enter into this central mystery of our faith, the suffering and death of Jesus. It is an invitation to stop thinking, theologizing and otherwise trying to make sense of things. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Think less. Be silent. Experience. We enter into this mystery not to understand it, but to be made part of it and, in doing so, to become part of the very heart of God.