April 12, 2014 Palm Sunday
Though Jesus was in the form of God he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. Rather we are told he emptied himself. In our world today many want to play the role of God. Jesus had the wisdom to know his job was not to play the role of His father. Rather he emptied himself! The question for us today is what heck does it mean to empty oneself and what happens to one who is empty?
What the heck is Empty Oneself?
Empty is the place where creation of new life begins. Empty is the place where hope lives. Empty is the place (like spring) from which new life explode anew. When one is empty God’s creative hope can fill the space, thus opening the possibilities of an encounter with new life.
In the reading from Philippians, Paul tells us Jesus did not selfishly cling to his exalted position. He emptied himself. He was able to take on the form of a slave in human likeness and appearance. He was able to set his face like flint as he marched to Jerusalem. He steeled himself to endure the worst humanity can dish out while humbling himself, becoming obedient to death on a cross.
He cam to fulfill Prophecy – a trusting Lamb:
He fulfilled what the Prophet Isaiah foretold of in the Suffering Servant Song– a message of hope passed. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. Jeremiah who told of a trusting lamb lead to slaughter.
Paul wants us to contrast the actions of Jesus and Adam. Adam chose to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree as he grasp at equality with God. Rather Jesus took on Adams’ human condition, and with it bore our slavery to sin and corruption.
In the beginning was the word. In the beginning how many could see the word? How just much space did the word occupy?
Where would we look to find Hope in the World today?
Where would you look to find hope that new life is possible? Today’s scripture describe what we encounter when we encounter hope. Can anyone describe for me what they would expect to find in an empty container? Have any of us encountered a situation in life we would describe as we came up empty? When something that is empty is something that contains nothing becomes a room to be filled with Hope. Conversely, many of us have met people who are full of something! ( modern selfie?? )
Marks Gospel marks a final turning point for Jesus. He knew it was time to move on. Time to face the most serious phase of his life. Time to empty himself completely. Time to humble himself and fulfill the will of his father. Time to suffer through his passion and his death on a cross in obedience to his Father.
Handing Over His mission to Who / Whom?:
During this final Passover feast he would hand over his mission to his disciples. Along with Gifts his disciples and followers where initially unprepared to receive. The creation of a new covenant, the sacrament of Eucharist and a handing over of the reins of the new Church. A church that was to born from the water and blood that flowed from his side to the ground from the cross.
The empty tomb: Where Hope is Encountered:
All of of this took place so that we would encounter and empty tomb. The place where hope lives. The end of the Gospel of Mark and the place where the possibilities of new life explode before us. Empty the place where an end is the beginning becoming something new. Empty the fact, that Mark’s ending of the Gospel leaves the reader with a startling realization! We each have the opportunity to conclude the gospel by living out its values.
What is the next spiritual challenge, the spirit is calling each of us to individually and collectively face up to in obedience to the will of the Father?