Homilette for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent

(Numbers 21:4-9; John 8:21-30)

Folksinger Bob Dylan wrote a song where everyone denies responsibility for the death of a prizefighter. In “Who Killed Davey Moore?” Dylan shows how the referee, the fans, the sportswriter, the manager, and the boxer who laid the knocked the victim out all participated in the killing. Yet each of these conspirators excuses himself or themselves from blame.

Although a prizefighter may seem an unlikely figure for Jesus, we can find a comparison between Bob Dylan’s ballad and the gospel today. Just as many share the guilt of Davey Moore’s death but no one cares to admit it so too the whole world should recognize that their sins have caused the death of Jesus when he “is lifted up” on the cross, but few acknowledge their complicity.

Jesus comes to the world as the completely innocent son of God. His mission is to redeem the world of sin. He accomplishes this when he is crucified allowing everyone – ourselves as well as the people who surround him – to recognize that his or her sins have brought about his death. Those who deny involvement remain in sin. Those who admit responsibility, he forgives. There is no escaping this judgment.