The Passion is such a familiar story that we can miss the impact it has on us and it has on the world. A man in betrayed by a friend and is publicly executed for speaking the truth. The rest of friends scattered when he was arrested and left him alone.
For the full impact of the Passion to hit us, we need to read it again and listen with ears of faith. In the giving of the Eucharist in the beginning, we have the abiding sign of God’s eternal salvation. In the Eucharistic ,we meet the very living presence of the Paschal Lamb that was offered on the altar of the Cross. The grace that flowed from his Cross continues to flow into us through this gift.
In Jesus’ agony in the Garden, he is the example of how our sufferings and fears are our share in his. We have all had that moment when we did not think we could through with something, but Jesus shows us that when we say yes to God, we say yes to the struggle, but we also say yes to the victory! How appropriate that lesson is for today. This is our agony in the garden; this is our time of fear and anxiety. Jesus teaches us that we need to give over our fears and struggles to the Father though his Cross and we will rise again.
Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial are the reminders of what we are capable of. If we are not rooted in the Lord’s grace and love, then the temptation to betray him will be there. Judas got self centered; it was all about him and his needs. Peter gave into his fear of what other people would think of him and what the true cost of believing Jesus would be. How often do we come before our faith? Jesus becomes a connivence, but not an essential. Perhaps, one thing we can all take away from the world situation today is that only God will give us the strength we need to endure.
Finally, the Cross. The focus of the story. In this horrible sign of violence, we see the wounded Body of Christ struggling and suffering today. We see our brothers and sisters who are dealing with the Corona virus and those who are fighting for their lives. In the selflessness of the doctors, nurses and medical professionals, we see the selfless gift of Christ who freely gave his life to save you and me. As we look at the Cross, we see the hope that our world will change into something new because of this struggle, just like the empty tomb of Easter transformed the Cross of Good Friday.
So, my brothers and sisters, we join a virtual pilgrimage today from the Hosanna’’s of Palm Sunday, to the Upper Room and Calvary and then the tomb to the Risen One. Let the story of this week be heard anew this year and transform us into who we are: the living Body of Christ.