Attitude of Christ

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily April 14, 2019

“All of us experience in this Palm Sunday Liturgy that very quick transition from ‘hosanna’ to ‘crucify him’, and how fickle the human person can be and how we can proclaim and yet not live and so we are called to reflect upon the beautiful mystery of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus and the power of that love and this evening I’d like to take a just few moments to reflect with you on the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  You may want to open your book to this its 923…St. Paul wrote to the Philippians because he was in prison at the time and he wanted to encourage them in their faith and he wanted to give them a solid foundation in who Jesus truly is and so he quotes this which is probably had its origin in a song in honor of Jesus. He said, ‘Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself.’  The Word was from all eternity, but the Word emptied himself in order to become one with us. He didn’t grasp that divinity, but rather concealed that divinity within his humanity and when we talk about grasping equality with God, who was the first to do that? Adam and Eve. They were the ones that wanted to be likened to God. That’s what the serpent told them that would happen to them if they but disobeyed God and so Jesus does exactly the opposite. He doesn’t grasp for that equality, but rather humbles himself and he emptied himself.  The Greek word in that is kenosis means an outpouring, a total giving of self is what emptying is about that he emptied himself in the sense of that divinity, although he was always divine, but he emptied himself of any of the manifestation of that ‘taking the form of a slave’, a slave, taking the form of sinful humanity for the greatest slavery while physical slavery is terrible, the greatest slavery is the slavery to sin and Jesus without sin take sin upon himself and so he takes the form of a slave coming in human likeness and found human in appearance ‘he humbled himself becoming obedient to the point of death.’  Pride is one of the strongest human vices is the we be prideful that our pride is about how great we are and Jesus instead embraces humility even humiliation. He embraces that lowliness of becoming one with us in our sinful humanity and became obedient. Adam and Eve were the first ones to be disobedient and by our sin reflect their disobedience, but Jesus became obedient, obedient to do the will of the Father and the will of the Father was that he be totally faithful no matter what that meant and unfortunately because of human profidity it meant crucifixion and death upon a cross and so he became obedient to the point of death even death on a cross.

You know we tend to sterilize, sanitize the cross.  We wear it as jewelry as silver, gold, we kinda use it as a nice beautiful decoration, certainly a spiritual reminder, but the cross for anybody who lived at the time of Jesus was an absolutely terrible symbol.  It was the ultimate painful death that Romans could inflict upon a criminal was that of crucifixion, even so bad that a Roman citizen could never be crucified because it was such a humiliating, painful way of death and so Jesus accepted even death the cross, the ultimate of death of ultimate humiliation.  ‘Because of this God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth’, that God truly raised him up in glory in the resurrection and that Jesus name is truly holy. How often we find that the name of Jesus is used very lightly even as a curse word.  We should have respect and honor the name of Jesus. I was taught as a child that when Jesus name was said to bow my head in humble adoration recognizing the true dignity that is Christ that Christ is not just one of us, but truly our Lord and our Savior. ‘Every knee should bend of those in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’  Jesus Christ is truly the Lord of our life. Do we proclaim Christ Jesus as truly Lord as truly God as Lord of our daily lives? And that is to the glory of God the Father for all ultimately gives glory to God and the one line that unfortunately is not included in this reading is the one that proceeds the very first line and it says, ‘Have this attitude in you that is in Christ Jesus.’  That we are called to the same attitude as Christ Jesus, the one of emptying ourselves, the one of living humbly, the one of being obedient to the Father, the one of being faithful even to the point of death, but also to be one with Christ in his resurrection for truly we are called to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection now and forever. What a tremendous dignity we have. What a tremendous call, but it is only if we put on the attitude of Christ Jesus, the mind and the heart of Christ and that is what we are called to do at every Eucharist.  As we come forward to receive communion we receive the body of Christ given over, the blood of Christ poured out for our salvation so that we might become ourselves the body given over in service and love to others, the blood poured out in loving care for those within our families and all whose lives we may touch.  What a tremendous call we have, but what a great challenge: put on the attitude, the heart and the mind of Christ Jesus. “