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The good news for the day April 9, 2017 Palm Sunday (38) In the 1st reading from Isaiah, the speaker says that “I” have learned the lessons needed: when people hurt such me, I have the stubborn courage to endure it. In the 2nd reading—a hymn—the words describe an emptying of Jesus—a selflessness—lowering from the “form of God” to the form of a worker or employee—who on that account rises from great humiliation (and death) to become a Special part of the beautiful, regal family of God. In the 3rd reading—the words recount the passion and death of Jesus. (Matthew 27) Faith is a seed. It grows--or it dies. Faith grows by prayer, by listening to and accepting correction, by intellectual humility (“I can be wrong”), and by deepening—each of us—childlike faith—without abandoning it—but deepening it by chucking away stuff that is just cultural or habit—and hinders loving. Faith teaches us mysteries—insecurities, contradictions, and stuff beyond comprehension—but calls us to accept the mystery with “your whole heart, soul, mind and strength,” to believe beyond sense and beneath “what we were always taught.” Jesus died at a particular time…BUT his death is also outside of time. He died AND He lives. You and I share His death as well as His rising—his body and his blood—for real. You live a timeless, permanent Life inside and beyond the transient events of rejection, failure, disease, death—and being misunderstood. You and I deepen our faith and trust, changing ourselves. You and I—hurt—have learned not to be defensive about it. You and I started with a kid’s ego and superiority; we re-shape our souls through defeats and losses—insults, hostile names, and putdowns. We have found in the maturing of faith a membership in God’s family that re-evaluates all suffering, humiliations and defeats in light of the love of the people around us. We are gladly repentant, re-sanding our sins away by daily acceptance of God our Father and His Will. We become beautiful.