Message: We need a new mind and heart to see the reality of Jesus and his cross - his extravagant love.
Welcome to Holy Week! We just listened to St. Mark's account of Jesus' Passion. It begins with an act of extravagance: a woman brings an alabaster jar containing a perfumed oil worth about year's wages. The alabaster itself is valuable - no doubt you have seen that wonderful translucent stone. Well, the woman breaks an alabaster jar and lets the oil flow over Jesus. The people react, "Why this waste?"
If you are like me, you hate waste. I take home food from funeral buffets. I pick up pennies. If I find a dime, it makes my day! Frugality has its place but we must admit: Our God is a God of extravagance - of seeming waste.
Some look out on the enormous universe and ask: How can we be the only planet with intelligent life? It seems unreasonable that God would create so much for little creatures like us. I don't know the answer, but I do know that our God is a God of extravagance.
In Holy Week we see the greatest example of extravagance. Jesus could redeem us with a drop of blood, but he chooses the cross. I have a friend with diabetes. He has a device to get a few milligrams of blood each morning. Jesus could save us with even less, but as we see this week, blood flows from his back, his hands, his feet, his head.
As we have learned during Lent we need a new mind and heart to see the reality of Jesus and his cross - his extravagant love. For sure we ask, "Why this waste?" Why such extravagance? We will get an answer next Sunday. It might surprise you. For now I will say this: Don't throw away your palm branch. (Smile) It signals a surprising victory... (Pause) Amen.
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