Previously posted: March 2013
Here in the USA, NCAA March Madness has been set in motion. It is all about college basketball tournaments in Men’s and Women’s respective divisions. Sports related sites state: it is “a feverish month of college basketball filled with more than 60 games across the country,” and “three weeks of legendary performances, fantastic finishes — and the alternating agony and ecstasy of predictions gone right or wrong.” Well this is the extent of my sports expertise. Unfortunately, I can’t tell the difference between brackets and braces or sort out the groupings of The Final Four or The Magnificent Seven! However, I think this March Madness term can be a clue as to what will happen in the Scriptures as we attend to the readings of the Passion in the week called, Holy Week.
Holy Week presents us with the reading of the Passion after processing with palms. Then we listen to the reading of the Gospel of Luke telling again the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Here begins the March Gladness which will eventually be turned into March Madness on Good Friday . . . These readings are filled with much symbolism. I suggest you consider reading a biblical commentary, i.e., Preaching the New Lectionary by Dianne Bergant, Year C .
Jesus enters riding upon a colt. He will meet throngs of people cheering Hosannas now and later hurling shouts of “crucify him.” Religious and political leaders presently puzzled now, already plotting in their hearts how to get rid of this “presence that disturbs.” No banners and no bands. To those who believe in him, he is the Good News that now comes in gladness only to enter into the Good Friday madness of darkness, anger, resentment, and hate. He will stare evil in the face – this, too, will be a legendary performance with a fantastic finish - alternating with the agony and ecstasy of predictions gone right - gone Mysteriously right!