Our God is the God of Surprises.

Since today’s Gospel is extra long my homily will be extra short.

The history of our faith reveals to us that God is the God of Surprises. In the Old Testament, the people expected the all powerful God to say to a powerful nation, “You are my people.” However, the all powerful God selected a weak, nomadic tribe that was too small to be called a nation and God said to them, “You are my chosen people.” The people expected God to punish them after they built the Golden Calf. God was obviously angry at them. But then God caught them by surprise. He blessed them and gave them the Promised Land. That is not what they expected.

People expected the Messiah to come from a wealthy family; but the Messiah came from a carpenter’s family. People expected the Messiah to be born in a palace; but the Messiah was born in a stable. The history of surprises continues in our Gospel for today.

The people expected that their savior king would come into the Holy City riding on a colt because that is what the prophet Zechariah had prophesied. That is why they were waving palms and singing Hosanna and celebrating on Palm Sunday. But Jesus turned out to be a different kind of king. He turned out to be a spiritual king.

Most people would expect Jesus to condemn the soldiers because they have nailed him to the cross. But Jesus does not condemn them. Instead, he saves them by dying on the cross for them.

What’s going here? What is behind all of this irony? What is behind all of these surprises? I think that the answer is love.

God selected the weakest people to be the Chosen People because He loves them. God wants the Messiah to come from an unknown family because God loves the working class. God gives the Promised Land to a group of disobedient, undeserving people because God loves them. Jesus dies for a group of people who resist his message because he loves them. The history of our faith is a history of how much God loves people, even when they don’t deserve it.

God is also saying to us, “You are made in my image and likeness.” Thus, we are called to do what God does. We are called to love the people around us even when we perceive that they don’t deserve it. We are called to be loving people in the image of our loving God.

We pray today that we might love others as God loves them.

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