Monday, March 30, 2015

Experience Holy Week as Jesus Did

“Truly this was the Son of God”
One would have thought that these words affirming 
Jesus would have come from His family and friends,
or perhaps from some one of the faithful Jews in Jerusalem for the Passover –
someone who knew the Scriptures well and who recognized their fulfillment in Jesus.
No. The one who recognized the meaning of Jesus’ death was a foreigner:
ironically, the centurion who supervised  Jesus’ execution.
True, others kept watch with Him those last hours –
His Mother and the women who had walked with Him.
As for His other close followers, they had abandoned Him.
Here He was, put to death as a common criminal.
What good news is there in this?
The good news is, despite his abandonment, Jesus was faithful.
He trusted that His Father would be with Him to the end, and so, broke the power of sin and betrayal.
Jesus loved those who abandoned Him. “Peace,” he would say to them from beyond death.
No accusation or condemnation. Just  “Peace.”
You and I experience the anguish of Jesus’ last days through the lens of Christ’s Resurrection.
Thank God we do, for otherwise, we might not bear it , as Peter and Judas could not.
We know God raised Him up, as we hear Paul in the letter to the Philippians (2.9)
“and gave Him a name above all other names.”
He is Christ the Lord, the Risen One, and next Sunday, the bright light of Easter will overtake darkness, and we believers will mark new believers with the holy oils and call them by our own name - Christian.
We look backwards on the experience of Jesus. We see its completeness, but we live forward.
In our everyday lives, we share the Holy Week experiences of Jesus,
but maybe we don’t feel the life of His resurrection yet.
We know the fickle plaudits of the crowd.
You and I have been abandoned and betrayed by our friends
 or we have abandoned or betrayed others ourselves.
We are Pilate, Nicodemus, the women along the way.
We are Jesus.
We have been condemned and condemned others. We have helped others to carry their cross
and have been the recipients of the help of others.
We have died big deaths and little deaths.
Will we believe, as Jesus did, that God is faithful?
Somewhere in our past is an old theology which encourages us to heap upon ourselves
guilt for our part in Jesus’ death.
Surely He has taken on Himself, as a humble servant, the sins of us all.
But, more especially, these days, let us think of ourselves as standing in Jesus’ place.
His experience is the experience of all humanity.
 Even as He came through unadorned tragedy to new life, so do we.

~Sister Joan Sobala