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Palm Sunday Reflections

March 30th, 2007 by dk

For us, the turning point of our faith is still a week away (or maybe 5 days), but for the players on the stage, Palm Sunday is the day when things turned. This is when they learned it wasn’t gonna go how they thought. So it’s not surprising that no part of the narrative is more carefully attended to by all four gospel writers. And as such, it offers a great opportunity to see how the story of Jesus is having its rough edges sanded down even in the first two generations after his life. John is the last of the writers and he removes (actually moves) the bad mood that Jesus is clearly in. He’d rather Jesus be poised and polite. Luke removes an important interchange that essentially rewrites the Law and reverses course on the religious leaders, arguing for love in place of purity. Matthew omits a small but significant story about the widow’s mite that challenges our ideas about popularity and power. Strip this story down to Mark’s starting point and you have a “Son of Man” who is very much like our day-to-day selves — worried about making ends meet, doing the best we can, living ever so slightly out of control. Can we dare to be less poised, polite, pure, popular, and powerful if it means being more like Jesus? Or will we instead reinterpret Jesus to better fit our ideals of a good Christian life?

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