April 2, 2023

Our gospel today is long;
it is the first of two readings of the passion and death of Jesus;
we hear many sayings and notice events that are familiar to us and to all Christians.

Maybe during the week we could take time to reread the gospel account, and watch what happens, going a bit behind the externals.

We will see Jesus being mocked, tortured, hurt, ridiculed, beat­en and killed. We notice his fear in the garden of his agony, and also his willingness to go to the end for what he believes in and sees as his mission in life. We see him being treated unjustly, and a notorious thief being chosen over him for release. We see him on the cross, when he seems to feel neglected by his Father.

We notice also the help he received – the silent sympathy and love of his mother, Simon’s help carrying the cross, the sympathy of the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’, and even the faith of the Roman who said he was a good man, a ‘son of God’. We wonder about how he felt with the mockery and with the help he received.

We can identify with much of his suffering, in our own lives and the lives of people close to us. He is the one who ‘has en­dured the cross and despised its shame’ (Hebrews).

We can often take comfort and consolation from the fact that he identifies with the suffering of the human race, and that his resurrection is the basis of our faith, hope and love.

Look at or imagine a crucifix, and pray as you feel drawn.

Lord, by your cross and resurrection,
you have set us free;
you are the Saviour of the world.

Donal Neary SJ