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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A 2020

1. Back in the late winter of 1968,

a. Our art teacher came into our fourth-grade classroom in tears,

b. And told us that a great man named Martin Luther King had been shot.

2. I didn’t know who this Martin Luther King was.

a. But whoever he was, I could see she was upset.

3. She talked about how important he was,

a. And she spoke about a talk he gave, in 1963,

b. in which he had a dream.

4. I didn’t understand what the dream was,

a. It wasn’t until years later that I actually heard his speech

b. and realized what that beautiful dream was all about.

5. Have you ever had a dream?

a. A hope so profound;

b. a desire so strong,

c. that you were willing to do anything to see it realized?

6. Perhaps it is the dream of owning your own home.

7. Perhaps it is the dream of staring your own business

8. Perhaps it is the dream of a college diploma;

a. if not for yourself, then for your children.

9. Perhaps it is simply the dream of being a citizen of this land.

a. For Dr. King, and for so many others,

i. That dream was the dream of a land

ii. where all people were treated equally.

10. A dream so strong that people were willing to pray for it,

a. Work for it,

b. Sacrifice for it,

c. Suffer and even die for it.

11. When I understood that then I understood why my art teacher cried.

a. Because after Dr. King’s death,

b. as riots filled our street and whole cities went up in flames,

i. Not only had Dr. King died; so, had his dream.

12. Have you ever had a dream that died?

a. May do especially nowadays.

13. For millions of people the dream of owning their own home

a. has ended in the nightmare of foreclosure.

14. For millions more the dream of their own business

a. has ended in the nightmare of bankruptcy.

15. The dream of a college diploma is fast becoming a fantasy,

a. as tuition costs skyrocket

16. And as for the dream millions had of becoming US citizens,

a. it seems that all they will ever be is America’s underclass.

17. America was founded on a dream – a dream not unlike the one Dr. King had;

a. a place where all people are created equal,

b. and therefore, have an equal right to realize their dream.

c. and it is especially hard when such beautiful dreams die.

18. Jeremiah understood this.

a. For Jeremiah had what is perhaps one of the most daring of dreams;

i. he had a religious vocation.

ii. He would serve God as a prophet;

iii. he would speak God’s word to God’s people

iv. What an honor!

19. But then he heard the word he had to speak;

a. IT was a word of warning that God’s people were going to be attacked;

b. that their armies would be overrun,

c. and unless the king surrendered, their land would be destroyed.

20. Jeremiah did not want to speak this word,

a. but as a prophet he could not but speak it.

i. As a result, he was ridiculed;

ii. as a result, he was persecuted;

iii. the king imprisoned him

iv. and people sought to kill him.

21. That is why Jeremiah accuses God of tricking him

a. into believing his life would be one way

i. when it had turned out so differently.

b. For what Jeremiah is really saying is, his dreams have died.

22. St. Peter understood this too.

23. For in last week’s Gospel

24. Jesus said he was the Chosen One; the Messiah; the Son of God;

25. Which meant for Peter

a. Jesus would kick out the Romans,

b. purify the temple

c. and establish an everlasting kingdom.

26. Moreover, Jesus had chosen Peter to be his Rock,

a. upon which he would build his Church,

b. which would prepare for this coming kingdom.

27. IF Jesus was King, well then Peter was number two;

a. It was the fulfillment of a dream!

28. But then today’s we hear Jesus say that while he was chosen

29. He was chosen to die.

30. There was no mention of kingdom;

31. No talk of glory;

32. Just suffering and a cross.

a. And not just for Jesus,

i. but for all who follow him.

33. That why Peter rebuked Jesus.

a. For what Jesus was saying was not only was Peter’s dream dead,

b. but so was everyone else’s.

34. And if that is all that Jesus had said,

a. well then Peter would be justified in his rebuke,

b. Jeremiah in his complaint,

c. my art teacher and everyone else in our despair at the death of our dreams;

d. whatever they may be.

i. Because that is what dreams do; they die.

35. But that is not all that Jesus said.

a. When he said he would be killed he did not stop there;

b. he said that on the third day he would be raised.

c. He said it quickly; you might have missed it; surely Peter did;

i. For the death of our dreams can deafen us;

ii. they can blind us to what Jesus was promising in those words.

36. Either way Peter did not understand it; none of disciples did;

a. not then; not on the day Jesus was crucified and buried;

37. it was only after Easter, that Peter began to understand

a. what the resurrection of Jesus would mean to him

b. and all of Jesus other followers

c. in the months and years and centuries to come.

38. And that is that

39. Dreams have a way of rising again.

40. They did for Jeremiah’s people;

a. when after decades of war and destruction exile and death they were allowed to rebuild their promised land.

41. They did for Peter and the other disciples;

a. When on Easter their dead friend Jesus appeared to them, forgave them, ate with them and filled them with his spirit.

42. And they can for us as well

43. For even though we are facing what seem like impossible challenges in our church our nation and our world.

44. It is not the first time we have faced challenges. Ads a people a nation or a church.

45. And though our economy is sinking

46. And Unemployment rising

47. Though Gun violence is growing and protests still grip our nation.

48. though apostles can be rebuked, and prophets imprisoned

49. Though preachers can be assassinated and even the Messiah can be killed;

50. Dreams are bulletproof.

51. And that if there is a God who is stronger than our suffering; stronger than our death and that someone raised Jesus to life. Well then, that God will raise us up as well; In fact God already is; because the resurrection starts with a dream. What is your dream today?

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