The Passion of the Lord - Year B - 29th March 2015

"He loved us to the end"

Our emotions during the coming week will oscillate between JOY "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" and SADNESS "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

At first glance, these two emotions seem to be totally opposed to one another. But when we view them with the eyes of faith, we recognize that they're not that opposed, for the Messiah who rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey amidst waving palms, shouts, and adulation, freely decided to mount the throne of the Cross. The Cross, therefore, was not a sign of humiliation, but the fulfilment of all the messianic hopes that palm Sunday proclaimed. Sadly the people of the day did not see it that way as they had their own preconceived idea of the Messianic coming. We too can and do have our own preconceived ideas and thus fail to recognise what God is doing in our lives.

The story of these events will have little meaning for us, unless we recognize that it is not just a memory, not just an historical event of two thousand years ago that we commemorate. Rather it is a living story that beckons us to enter into it and be one with Christ as he passes from death to life.

The cross of Jesus stands at the centre of the Christian story as the sign of God's love for us. If we ever wonder if we are really loved, we should look at the figure on the cross. It is difficult to maintain that we are unloved when we know that someone thought we were worth dying for. The cross is lifted up as a sign of our worth, somebody thought we were worth all that pain and suffering. And that somebody is Jesus, Son of God.

We remember the death of Jesus not as a heedless act of violence, rather, we honour his death as the supreme act of love. The love of one who "did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to become as we are, and to show that despite our sins and failures God loves us. That is the heart of the passion story.

We are called to be loving and generous to other human beings who may not be loving and generous to us. We are called to be faithful to the commitments we have made in baptism and have renewed in marriage or parenthood or priesthood. We are all called to put all we have into the acceptance of God's will in our lives, even when His will is dark and painful and frightening. The passion and death of Christ shows us the way.

Our mission and Christ's mission are the same: faithful obedience to the implications of God's love for us and for all His human creatures. We may not be destined to suffer public humiliation and the death of a criminal. But we are called to deal with the demands of faith in a godless society. Let us be prepared to carry our cross for love of Him.

Jesus is not our Saviour because He suffered a lot. Jesus is our saviour because He loved us to the end.

Fr. Kevin O'Shea, C.M.