As a small boy how Jesus could be proclaimed a King on Palm Sunday and five days later the same crowd were calling for him to be crucified. Why?
As an older person I realized that in many situations in life people express a different viewpoint to mine and I believe this is reflected in the events of Holy Week.
For many of the crowd they believed that Jesus was to be the liberator from Roman Rule and whatever else was causing them to feel angry at the world.
However what Jesus offered was a different philosophy about the way we should live our lives not a solution. That was to bring about change through love not seeking power. Unfortunately not everyone embraced this philosophy and because they didn’t like what they heard or saw it as threatening the status quo Jesus died on a cross. He was crucified for having a different opinion.Fortunately, three days later he rose from the dead and his message to love lives on today.
Last Sunday’s Gospel John 8:1-11 was the story about the woman who was going to stoned until Jesus said,
“Let anyone without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
What Jesus is challenging us to think about is not to be so quick to judge based on your own perceptions and the court of public opinion but to critically evaluate s the situation so you make a wise choice.
One day my wife and I were walking down the street on extremely hot day in Port Adelaide where we saw an elderly woman lying in a daze on the footpath. As several people walked past her or over the top of her my wife, a heavily set man with tattoos and I stopped to see what happened.
The woman had not been drinking as some people may have assessed and been reluctant to help but as we found out she had suffered heat stroke.
My wife went into the nearby chicken shop and asked them to call an ambulance and bought her a drink while the man and I tried to make her comfortable.
Finally the ambulance came and as the elderly woman climbed in she handed my wife a posy of flowers that she had been clutching on to.
It was a very powerful image to me of how kindness won over judgement.
In last Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 15: 11-32 was the Parable of the Lost Son.
The latter part of the parable refers to the older brother who was angry. This was because the Father embraced the son who had left and spent all his inheritance on himself while he dutifully stayed at home.
There are three points I would like to make that illustrate the elder brother’s response.
Firstly, the elder brother feels unappreciated by the Father as he stayed home and did what he was asked while the younger brother got to go out and have a good time.
Secondly, he felt jealousy and resentment towards the younger brother. He also would have felt the Father favoured his younger brother because on his return he was rewarded by the Father with a party while he had never received the offer of any celebration.
Finally, the question for the elder brother is he needs to question what his motivation is for working on his Father’s property. At the moment he is looking at the actions of his Father and brother purely from his own point of view.
I believe through the elder brother, Jesus is challenging us to change our perceptions towards any situation despite what we may believe result in unfair outcomes. He is asking us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and perhaps our view of what occurred may change. God through the forgiving Father has demonstrated that no matter the situation there will always be love and compassion for us. The change comes from us.
This weeks gospel is from Luke 13: 1-9
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
“Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’
“But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.
‘And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’
The two major points that I would like to raise about this parable are the expectations that the owner of the vineyard had on the fig tree and the patience of keeper of the vineyard to give my time for the tree to bear fruit.
The scripture challenges us not to be quick to destroy something that we hoped would be of benefit to us despite not fulfilling our expectations. Too often we place expectations on others that we would not liked placed on ourselves. Thus we need to be like the keeper of the vineyard not to hastily judge or act but to display patience that will eventually reward us. Hence by giving people or events the time and support they require we are providing them with the opportunity to succeed.