Today, we remember the day on which the Son of God showed us our lives should look like. St. Peter said, “He left us an example, that we should follow in his steps.” He did not die to pay all of the costs for all of our sins–Christ’s teaching is more complicated than that. He did not die intentionally, but necessarily. He died because he obeyed.
He obeyed the same commandments we must obey. Obedience to God’s commandments led Our Lord into conflict with the leaders of his day, the wealthy, comfortable and influential people whose lives His life and teaching made uncomfortable. His was not a suicide mission, but a simple life of obedience to God’s simple, everyday commandments–“Thou shalt not steal.”, “Thou shalt not kill.”, etc.. If we obey God, we will find ourselves falsely accused, unjustly judged, abused, cursed, rejected and, if our enemies have their way, imprisoned and executed. Jesus told us this plainly when He spoke the Beatitudes.
Good Friday requires that we look at the Cross and ask, “Does that represent my way of life?” If not, something is wrong–or maybe a lot of things are wrong. The Cross is Christianity, and Jesus said, “Take up your Cross and follow Me.” Again, Jesus did not teach that He did so that we would not have to. Jesus taught that He died so that we would be encouraged and strengthened to die like Him.
I am looking forward to a new Christian year. I have enjoyed a very difficult, but edifying Lent. My zeal has been revived this Lent, and I am heading into Easter weekend with great peace. I hope you are too.
This evening my wife shared a photo with me from India. It shows two men volunteering to teach homeless street children there. Their classroom is a highway overpass. Their chalkboard is the concrete bridge wall. The children are seated on the concrete, studying.
We need to look at the world as Our Lord does. Our perceived problems are often generated by advertisers and politicians for their own advantage, rather than by reality. We can do so much if we get out of ourselves. The Passion of Our Lord teaches us that powerfully.
Our focus this weekend should be getting out of ourselves.