Today the church celebrates the Passion Sunday, which is the beginning of the Holy Week for this liturgical year of the church. In today’s celebration, we see the crowd leading Jesus into Jerusalem as a king. He is acclaimed and celebrated joyfully by the crowd. The action of the crowd in today’s liturgy is worrisome, taking into consideration the fact that in a few days’ time they will not be there to defend Jesus when it matters most. There are arguments from different people, whether it is the same crowd that celebrated Jesus today that also shouted crucify him crucify him. We may not be certain about the crowd, but one thing that is certain is the fact that at least a few persons will be part of both groups. If yes, why was there no dissenting voice from that of the crowd when Jesus was sentenced to death? Where they scared because of the crowd? This brings us to a very important question, have you ever kept quiet because of what people will say or do to you, even when you know the truth? Is our life guided by what people will say or what is the truth?
The 1st reading from the Prophet Isaiah is taken from one of the “servant songs” from the prophet. In it the prophet presents to us the fact that the servant will suffer. But that it will all end in praise, because he will end triumphantly. This points out the fact that the suffering that will be encountered as a result of discipleship will end to the glory of God. While in the 2nd reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he reminds us about the fact that even though Jesus was God, He did not claim equality with God. Paul is simply admonishing us about the need for us to practice humility in our life. In view of this, “God exalted him and gave him a name that is above every other name”. With humility comes the blessings of God that is beyond any human blessing. It is a virtue that should be emulated by all of us as children of God.
In the passion narrative, we have a lot to learn from the different characters that were presented to us. Which of the characters can you situate yourself? Are you Judas? Who because of his love for money betrayed his master? Have you ever betrayed the trust of a close friend because of what you stand to gain? Sometimes we hear disturbing statements like, every man has a price, with money everything is possible, when money talk’s bullshit happens. Do you live your life based on these assertions and some others like it? These type of belief system has created a lot of challenges in our society in recent times. Like a friend once said, the means no longer justify the end! The important thing is that you have made money, how you made it is not important. This type of attitude is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Is your position like that of Pilate? Even though he knew that Jesus was innocent of the accusations levelled against him, he did not speak up out rightly in defense of Jesus. May be because of the fear of the Jews and also the fear of losing his position. He was self-centered, even at the expense of an innocent man. Have you found yourself in such a situation before? If yes, we are encouraged to right this wrong whenever such a situation present itself again in our lives. We are encouraged to always stand for what is right for the common good of all at all times, and not for our personal interest at the expense of the common good.
Lastly, is the person of Jesus Christ. Throughout the passion process, he comported himself and remained steadfast on his convictions and the mission given to him by his father. All his actions were driven by the love he had for humanity. We see that in all the activities of this holy week, in his acceptance of this mission of redemption and also in the way he lived his life until he went to Calvary. In view of this, we are all encouraged as followers of Christ to embrace his way of life; which is the way of the cross. This is the narrow way that Jesus talked about in the scripture; the way of salvation.
The challenges and difficulties of life, should never lead us to a life that is detrimental to the common good of all; especially during this period of Corona virus pandemic. It is my prayer that we cooperate with the grace of God to be truly selfless in all that we do. Peace be with you. Amen.