While Lent is a penitential season, Sunday's readings brimmed with good news. Jeremiah recounts how God wrote his law on every human heart, giving us the capacity for an intimate understanding of God's loving desires for us, unmediated by any person or institution. The Letter to the Hebrews describes Jesus Christ as a tireless advocate who has experienced our every agony. In John's gospel, he promises to gather all people, all creation, within the circle of his perfect love.
Not bad, and yet beginning on Palm and Passion Sunday and continuing through Holy Week, we will reenact humanity's singular failing of having misunderstood and rejected the gift and killed the giver. He was too convenient a scapegoat. It's a little like those charged with creating perfectly balanced ecosystems for endangered species such as the California gnatcatcher. In one such setting in Orange County, parasites called cowbirds (that's one above) could destroy the whole gnatcatcher population unless they are forcibly removed and the tender ecological balance restored. Aren't we always asking God to take care of just one little problem for us so we can live in contentment and peace? Instead, when we're in Christ, we're in a new ecology where we can coexist with our cowbirds. My Sunday sermon is here.