Welcome to my Lenten reflection for Holy Week. (To view previous reflections refer to the list at right).
Each week’s reflection is drawn from a chapter of Days of Deepening Friendship. While it is not necessary to read these chapters to participate, it will likely enhance your experience. This week’s reflection is based on Chapter 40.
Let’s get started.
View this week’s video reflection:
Listen to this week’s audio reflection: Holy Week: “Why is passion important?”
Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. -John 12:27
The majority of us have much more in common with Jesus than we think. How many of us have cared long-term for a family member or accompanied a loved one right up to death’s door? How many of us have remained at the side of a troubled child or helped a friend bear up under an endless legal battle or prolonged unemployment? There are dictionary definitions of passion, but my use of the word is pretty simple: Passion is love that stays no matter what.
Passion carries the load that seems unbearable. Passion walks all the way to the destination of suffering because of the good that will result. Jesus persevered even though he could have opted out of the anguish of Good Friday. By his own will he followed the will of God the Father, and he did it for our sakes.
Jesus lived out, and died for, passionate love for us. But he wasn’t the only one demonstrating passion during the events of Holy Week. Those who stayed by Jesus also demonstrated holy passion. Mary his mother, Mary Magdalene, and a handful of others went the entire distance and witnessed the horror of Jesus’ execution. They stayed until he died, and then followed Joseph of Arimathea, who took the body and laid it in a tomb he owned. The women were there, because they took note of the spot.
Then, in the frightening aftermath of the crucifixion, some of these same women went early on Sunday morning to the tomb to finish anointing the body and dressing it for proper burial. They did this in a climate quite dangerous for anyone associated with Jesus of Nazareth; his disciples were in hiding throughout Jerusalem. But in the minds of these women, the work of love was not yet complete. We have to understand that at this point they were horribly confused. Their Messiah, upon whom they had placed all their hopes, was dead. Perhaps they no longer believed he was the Messiah, yet they loved him as their teacher and friend, and nothing would keep them from following through on that love.
When Jesus suffered and died, the Divine entered human anguish. God’s only Son stayed with us clear through the torture and the emotional distress and spiritual desolation and right into death itself. Passion is love that stays to the bitter end. We express this love when we stay close to those who suffer, regardless of what it costs us. Because each one of us has suffered in this life, we understand something of Christ’s passion. As we contemplate his journey of Holy Week, we can experience a special fellowship with God.
A Spiritual Exercise for This Week
This week, write a little story. It’s the story about the most passionate thing you’ve ever done. By passionate I mean an act of love that was fiercely devoted and didn’t give up.
Also, write a story about one of the most passionate loves you have ever witnessed. This might be the love of a parent caring for a terminally ill child. It could be a love that faced danger and rejection, or a love that kept praying and hoping in spite of horrible circumstances.
Then pray about the passion in your life. What kind of love do you dream about? How do you want your own love to grow and develop?
I invite you to post your comments and questions and I will respond throughout the week. I will also be available every Wednesday from 10 am-Noon CST to communicate with you in real time. Don’t forget to join me next week (I’ll send a reminder).