April 5, 2017
By Father William Muench
This week I would like to take a moment to consider with you some of the people who were part of the Passion of Jesus. We read about them each year on Palm Sunday and also on Good Friday.
This story of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus was so important to those early Christians that it was the first message they used to bring the message of Jesus to those who were just learning about Jesus.
I have always wondered about Judas. I think Judas was truly committed to the Kingdom of Jesus and just couldn’t understand or accept why the plan had fallen apart. He is terribly upset when the Hebrew leaders turned on Jesus, so, he lost his faith in Jesus; he even decides to make a profit from this new situation.
However, when he realizes how violent they are with Jesus, he completely despairs on the way he turned on Jesus. He takes his own life.
Even after his betrayal Judas could not even consider for a moment that he might reconcile himself with the other apostles – or that he might be forgiven. He takes his own life.
I have always wondered how Peter had the strength of will to stay faithful to the Lord – even after his denial of Jesus. Peter denies that he even knew Jesus after he had boasted that he would even be ready to die with Jesus.
I have wondered and prayed over the great sufferings that Mary, the Mother of Jesus had to endure. I cannot begin to imagine how Mary suffered so much as she stood at the foot of the cross of Jesus. It had to be overpowering.
I am certain that some of you have experienced a pain like this when being close to a loved one at the time of death. Mary is our support and guide as we help a loved one die. She knows well the experience. May Mary be with us and support us when our time comes.
Standing with Mary, the Gospels tell us were Mary Magdalene and the apostle, John. Mary Magdalene became a central figure in the Passion of Jesus. She stands at the foot of Jesus’ cross with Mary and is with her when they remove the body of Jesus from the cross. She was there when they buried Jesus. She would be among the first to see the resurrected Jesus.
John, the apostle and the evangelist, is the youngest of the apostles. He is the only apostle to be present at Calvary. He comes as a support and protector for the Blessed Mother of Jesus. John is also the author of the Fourth Gospel who has given us a detailed description of the events of Christ’s Passion and Death.
There are so many others that I would like to know more about – like Pontius Pilate, those soldiers who crucified Jesus, those High Priests, Annas and Caiaphas. For centuries, authors and historians have written books trying to explain to us who all the important people would have been and what they were like. I would still like to meet them one day to see for myself.
Finally, there is you and me. Each year we are invited to walk with Jesus through his Passion and Death during Holy Week. The days of Holy Week, the ceremonies of the Great Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday – leading up to Easter Sunday are our moments when we walk with Jesus and truly experience what he experienced.
On Holy Thursday, we are at the Last Supper with Jesus and the apostles. On Good Friday, we stand with Mary at the foot of Christ’s cross. At the Easter Vigil, we celebrate life, our life, sharing even now in the Resurrection of Jesus. On Easter Sunday, we joyfully end our Lenten time of mortification – and rejoice in new life in Jesus’ Resurrection.