HOMILY WEEK 04 03 – Year I
Cavalry in Slow Motion:
(Heb 12:4-15; Ps 103; Mk 6:1-6)
Archbishop Emeritus Adam Exner OMI speaks about martyrdom for us as “Calvary in slow motion.” We probably won’t be physically martyred, but are still called to die to ourselves day by day.
The readings today invite us into deeper faith in Jesus and a life of slow transformation into holiness.
In the Gospel, we see what troubled Jesus the most – the unbelief of his people and their refusal to believe in him and who he was. The invitation, of course, is for us to put our total trust in him as Lord, Savior, Son of God and Messiah.
The reading from Hebrews then outlines what a life of faith in Jesus looks like. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus sweat blood for us as he made the decision in moral loneliness to remain faithful to his commitment to die for us without bitterness or resentment. On the cross, Jesus shed his blood to show us the depth of the Father’s love for us.
We are called to that same fidelity, although for us, as Hebrews mentioned, it will fall short of shedding our blood. However, we are called to live Calvary in slow motion. For the author of Hebrews, that takes the shape of accepting trials as loving discipline from God.
That discipline, Hebrews points out, is actually something that will heal us and lead us towards holiness, towards greater Christlikeness. Like Jesus, we are to pursue peace with everyone and be peacemakers. Most of all, we are to be like Jesus on the Cross who forgave those who were crucifying him. We are called to forgive all those who have hurt us, to let “no root of bitterness spring up.”
To resist temptation, to let go of any sin in our lives, and to forgive anyone who has hurt us in any way – that is to be Christlike, to sweat blood, and to live Calvary in slow motion.
Nelson Mandela’s amazing ability to forgive those who tortured him, incarcerated him and deprived him of over twenty years of liberty in South Africa has to be one person who was able to live Calvary in slow motion. Not even a Catholic or necessarily even a spiritual man, that action in his life truly makes him Christlike.
The Eucharist we celebrate is an act of faith and a sharing in the love of Jesus shown both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross. May it empower us to place our total faith and trust in Jesus, to the point where we will be able to live Calvary in slow motion.