Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22, Response: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?; Philippians 2: 6-11; Luke 23: 1-49
Fr. Hans Kung, SJ, wrote that while we do not plan for suffering, inevitably we will suffer for what we believe in. This sums up the suffering and passion of Our Lord, as we observe the sacred season of Holy Week.
There are three points I propose for our opening reflection for Holy Week. First, what we believe in and the price we are willing to pay. Two, our response or reaction to suffering from the perspective of creative tension. Three, the movement from suffering to sacrifice to the sacred.
Suffering for what we believe in must be premised on mission, and more specifically, our mission from God.
Our God-given mission is always a continuation of Christ’s mission, which is to bring the love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness of God into the lives of others. It is sharing in the Paschal Mystery, the Cross and the Resurrection. It’s the paradox of love, on the one hand, and pain and suffering, on the other.
The search for meaning and purpose in life is an inherent desire in all of us.
The way of God is the way of the Cross and Resurrection. Palm Sunday and Holy Week is a special season to remember and keep this grace alive in our heart, soul and day-to-day life.
Our Lord’s suffering must be seen from this perspective. He will stand for what he believes in, his identity and mission, the Beloved Son who will be lovingly obedient to his Father’s will until its fulfillment in his Passion and on the Cross.
This suffering of Christ, our second point for reflection, is transformed through creative tension. This was one of the things our novice masters tried to form in us—not the avoidance or denial of tension, not being broken by tension, but dealing with it in a creative way to allow the grace to emerge.
The image we can consider are the strings of a guitar or a violin. Its ability to produce the beauty of music is a combination of tension and creativity. The strings are stretched and held in tension, and the correct and creative way of plucking the string produces or creates a beautiful sound, beautiful music.
Creative tension produced the most important “yes” in salvation history. Agonizing over his impending death, our Lord struggles and his tension causes him to sweat blood. He says “yes” amid this extreme tension: “Not my will, but your will be done.”
This creative tension “resolved” leads to the fulfillment of his mission—in love and service as the perfect sacrifice that wins for us and the whole of creation our healing and redemption.
Here we see the third point for our reflection, the movement from suffering to sacrifice and to the sacred. Our Lord in his suffering, his Agony in the Garden, and his “yes” to his Father’s mission for him transform his entire life, most especially his Passion and Cross, into the one perfect sacrifice that heals and redeems us and the whole of creation.
Our Lord’s suffering is the perfect sacrifice that makes it possible for us to cross from the secular to the sacred, from this world to the sacred world of grace and perfect love.
May we have a sacred week ahead, filled with grace and love to renew in us our sense of mission to bring the good news of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection into our world most in need of healing through authentic love and service. —CONTRIBUTED