Palm Sunday 2017
April 9, 2017
Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel: Matthew 27
"The Value of a Life"
Do you know how much you’re worth? The US government suggests its citizens are worth about $1.9 million each. If you’re in the military though, you’re not worth quite as much -- $600,000. $1.25 million’s not so bad right? The value of Man has varied throughout the centuries and oftentimes depended on your class, race, gender, and age. From slavery to general laws regarding reparations for accidental killings and even murder, lives have been assigned various values.
In our Gospel lesson, we begin with Judas Iscariot despairing of his actions in turning Jesus over to the Jewish authorities, and he comes back to them offering the money he was paid back to them in hopes he might be able to free Jesus whom he knew to be innocent. They rejected his plea and his thirty pieces of silver. To be fair, back in the day, thirty pieces of silver was a large amount of money, enough to buy a fairly substantial piece of land to bury undesirables. This price was the given for Jesus, the Christ, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the Master of all things and Word of God Incarnate.
Obviously, the price paid for Christ was nowhere near His worth. His life, that of the Son of God, is priceless. How can anyone place a price on the Creator? Nothing can cover that expense. All of Creation depends on Him for its sustenance and maintenance – He, Jesus, is worth more than all things combined by His very nature. However, He wasn’t concerned about His worth. He stepped into our reality, allowed Himself to be mocked, scourged, beaten, derided, and slain, to show us how much He truly cares for us. He died to show us He values us individually and corporately to the highest degree possible. God gave Himself up to death so we might know His love.
Taking this idea to its conclusion, we see that God values us as priceless. He considers every human being a pricelessly valued soul. He died so that all men might know Him and adore Him eternally. Sadly though, not all men will choose to recognize His mercy and accept His self-sacrifice. Many will choose to pursue their own selfish ends, but that does not change the fact that God loves every person with immeasurable love. From the radical Muslim jihadist to the youngest child in her mother’s womb, Jesus died to draw them to the Father’s throne and to dwell with Him forever. Now whether we come to know God’s saving grace is a process known only to God, with which we are called to help by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
If God loves us to such a degree that He would sacrifice Himself for us, we must recognize that He loves every human with that same passion. Therefore, we, in turn, are called to love others with that same passion being willing to share with them that immortal love of God.
Take the time this Holy Week to consider that magnitude of God’s love for you. Are you valuing yourself with the value God has placed on your lives? Are you valuing your neighbor with that same reality?