How Can You Say "No" to this Man?
We begin Holy Week by focusing in on the Passion of the Lord, this year according to Matthew. On Thursday we will relate the Passion to Sacramental celebration of the gift of the Lord in the Eucharist, on Friday we will zero in on the suffering and death of the Lord, then on Easter we will celebrate the triumph of Eternal Life over Physical Death.
The Passion accounts begin with the Agony in the Garden, that horrible evening when Jesus was attacked by the reality of what he was facing. He would be tortured to death as a sacrificial offering to the Father for the sins of the world, everyone’s sins, your sins and my sins. What was going through Jesus’s mind? Did He doubt that He could take upon Himself the sins of the world? Did He fear that He would deny His Father. Was He afraid for his life? Certainly, all of these fears must have attacked Him. But He was not about to give in to the temptation to make everything go away. He would suffer whatever it would take to renew the world. And He would suffer whatever it would take if He were to save only one of us. Christ died for you, and me.
"See, I make all things new," we read in the Book of Revelation. Gibson’s movie put these words on Jesus’ lips during the way of the cross when He meets His mother. He makes all things new. He gives our lives meaning and purpose and eternity.
He suffered for us. And what does he ask in return? He asks that we love his Father. He asks that we believe in Him. He asks that we love each other. He asks that we fight for his Kingdom. He asks that live as moral, decent people. He asks little, this Tremendous Lover who has given so much.
How can we say "No to this man."