We are preparing for America's great high liturgical feast day: Super Bowl Sunday.
I wonder sometimes, what it is about the Super Bowl that is so compelling to so many. I don't even really care about football (sorry y'all), but I like to watch. There's excitement in the air. Even those of us who are mostly in it for clever commercials and seven-layer nacho dip seem to have a good time.
Really, I think it's that there's nothing like a little competition to get our adrenaline going. We love the feeling of having a team and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. There's an "us" and a "them," and we want the good guys to win.
It's no wonder that Jesus, in
our gospel for Sunday
, gets run out of town. He messes with the "good guys" and questions the sanctity of the home team.
You remember the story: Last week, we heard Jesus preach about the Jubilee - good news for the poor, freedom for the captives, sight for the blind, and restoration for all. This week, we hear the rest of the story. He tells his hometown crowd that, yeah, God is all about this good stuff, but you know who is going to benefit?...the other guys. Elijah fed the widow in a Gentile land, while there were plenty of Israelite widows starving. And Elisha healed a leper in Syria, when there were plenty of sick and suffering people right here at home in Israel.
Jesus is saying, God is here for the Patriots and the Rams, and sometimes, the team you despise is going to benefit first!
Or, God is here for the Republicans and the Democrats, and sometimes the "other guys" are going to see God at work before "we" do.
Or maybe, God is here for the Christians and the people of other religions.
Or maybe, God is here for the documented and the undocumented, the legal and the illegal, the above board and the underground.
No wonder they wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff.
But Jesus says it anyway, and letting the chips fall, and "he passed through the midst of them and went on his way."
This gospel message is tough sometimes. It's not always fair. It doesn't always feel good. But it means freedom for all people. Light for the whole world. Grace for free, for everyone. And that is very good news.
Peace be with you,