Palm SundayMarch 25, 2018 | Sister Suzanne Fitzmaurice, OSB
In our first reading, we hear advice given by a mentor, Paul to Timothy “You then, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” This call for strength in teaching and leading others is just what we are seeing around the country today. Young people, who experienced great tragedy, are becoming the teachers for an entire nation. We hear them say: “We are here, our voices are loud and we’re not stopping until change happens. (Tanzil Philip). “We are putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine a light.”(Shine song) These young students are heeding the call to challenge a world that has learned to accept violence as a daily occurrence and work toward bringing the light of peace into that darkness. They are “just kids” but they are still speaking up and taking on the role of teachers to an entire nation.
Then in Mark, we hear Jesus giving the apostles instructions that at first seem odd. Go to this place, get a colt, bring it to me and if questioned, just say I need it. Here we see the apostles, who I am sure were a bit confused by being asked to highjack a donkey, simply following what they were called to do. They knew what their hearts were saying and they were willing to follow that call. What happened next was a triumphal entrance into the city, filled with cheers and exclamations. People all around, joined their voices with the voices of the original few and as the crowd grew, their voices grew louder, more people started to pay attention, and the world began to change. That is what we see today, the fruits of taking a risk, speaking up and following what your heart knows to be true even when you do not fully understand where it will lead.
Most of us here in this chapel tonight were educators at one time or another. Think back to all the young people who came into your classroom each day. Think about the quietest one in the back, the one who always had the right answer, the one who seemed always to be in trouble, the one who could never sit still, the one who did no wrong and all the ones in between. No matter how long ago you taught, my guess is that certain young people immediately came to your mind. Now with their faces in your mind, think of those young people, walking up to some of the most powerful and influential voices in our country and telling them they need to change. See them, looking these influential people straight in the eye and challenging them on hypocrisy, lack of action, and fear of offending supporters. Think of your former students, witnessing unspeakable tragedy and having the courage not only to go on but also to speak up and challenge a wounded world. Now see yourself, standing next to them or with them as they move forward to speak what is in their hearts. Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to listen to how Christ speaks in our hearts? Even though it may not make sense at the time, or we are anxious about what might happen, or we are not sure if it will make a difference, are we still willing to act? Are we willing to walk with confidence into the city, and raise our voices with those who are leading the procession even if we have no idea where it will lead or what will happen next? Are we willing to take the same risks that these young people have taken over the last month? As we are seeing today, just like the apostles on that day so long ago, sometimes, those few voices, no matter how wounded or inconsequential to the world, leading with conviction, can cause those around them to join in bringing that light into a wounded world. Sometimes, those few voices can turn the world around and make people see things in a new way and know that in this moment, the world will be changed forever.