Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | 28 March 2021
“Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?”
Brothers & Sisters,
In the Gospel of Mark, as the passion of our Lord, begins, Jesus rebukes his disciples after they witness an anonymous woman break open an alabaster jar of expensive perfume to anoint Jesus’ head. Like, Christ’s chosen disciples, in our humanness, we can get things wrong! Just like them, we may become bewildered by another’s acts of genuine worship and think, “why would you do such a thing?” This makes no sense. After all, the jar was most likely a treasured family heirloom, so why wouldn’t the disciples wonder, why, break it? Even when appreciating the expensive gift of perfume to anoint Jesus, it was surely an unnecessary waste to break the jar.
However, if we reframe these actions through the eyes of Christ, we will see something else; her broken jar represents her complete gift. The woman was not content in sharing a portion of her treasures, even a large portion; she’s all-in, giving it all and holding nothing back. As we enter these holiest days, and as we recall the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that level of abandon in worship should be our aspiration.
It can be tricky because, like the disciples, we may think we know better than God. I know I have fallen prey to this line of thinking, believing I have designed a “better” plan than God’s. In CS Lewis’ book II of Mere Christianity, under the chapter “The Shocking Alternative,” he notes that arguing with God can be compared to “cutting off the branch you are sitting on.” Quite dangerous. As Lewis depicts, God created us similar to that of an automobile. A car engine (in Lewis’ day) needed petrol (a sign the author was British); just as we are created, we need our creator, God. Only with God can we move forward and realize true happiness and peace.
The same chapter builds up to a critical question C.S. Lewis popularized for all Christians to ponder: is Jesus a liar, lunatic, or Lord? This same proposition is cleverly included in Lewis’s novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as siblings and the Professor discuss Lucy’s claims she’s entered another world. Only three choices exist: she is lying, she is mad, or she’s telling the truth. While some scholars have asserted a potential fourth option: liar, lunatic, legend, or Lord, each of us ought to ask ourselves, If we accept Jesus as Lord, do we live our lives as if Jesus is Lord?
Jesus claims to forgive our sins, restoring our relationship with God. Do we trust in his promise? Are we willing to accept that God could love us this much, to become one of us, to die for us, and rise again that we might share in his new life? This week as you pray and consider the most extraordinary love of Christ, don’t worry about why God chose this path for redeeming us or how Jesus’ passion and death offer us a life a-new; rather, focus on how Jesus’s Passion and resurrection restore us to full relationship with God. And in response, let’s offer God our whole selves, not just a portion – and where we struggle to shatter the costly jars in our lives, in prayer, ask for help to make your life a worthy act of praise and worship. While our particular “styles” of worship may differ slightly and our sacrificial offerings may not be identical, we are called to join these offerings at the same altar, combining our acts of worship with the one act of sacrifice that gives life – Jesus’ death on the cross. And as Jesus is broken open to feed and nourish us with his life, may our hearts be raised to the Lord and our lives forever changed.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett