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The Big Sell-Out

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I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray Me
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalms 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

Sermon Week Passion Sunday Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 26:21

Recently, there was a very biting piece of satire offered in a magazine cartoon. A CEO-type is pictured at the podium, delivering a speech. The caption reads, "And so, while the end of the world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit." Wow! Like all good satire, there is more than a grain of truth in that depiction. After all, greed, lust for power, and betrayal are not just the stuff of tabloids and TV. These values are being played out in living color in our political and popular culture, each and every day. Sadly, it seems there are no limits to this sell-out spirit -- a topic that is particularly timely on this Passion Sunday.

Every year on this day, Judas' betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver reminds us that "selling out" is not a new phenomenon. Promises broken, loyalties betrayed, principles abandoned -- these are not the inventions of our Age. What is new, however, is contemporary society's easy acceptance of the "sell-out" spirit. You might even say we are living in the Age of the "sell-out spirit on steroids."

Oscar Wilde once wrote that, in modern society, "People know the price of everything but the value of nothing." Someone else has characterized our time as an Age in which everything is for sale. Every person has his or her price. Honesty, truth, and integrity are traded off, like chattels, for money and power. Although this assessment may be an overstatement, nevertheless it contains more than a grain of truth -- enough truth, in fact, that it should be a matter of deep concern for us. The harsh reality is, this is our Age and we've got to own it. This is the era in which we, as a Christian People, have been called to give light. This is our golden opportunity to be the "salt of the earth."

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus and the Twelve Apostles are gathered around a table, sharing the Passover meal. Matthew tells us that while they were eating, Jesus [...]

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