We celebrated the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. He was triumphant and ready to establish his kingdom. We also said this kingdom is not based on human authority or power, but it is based on the power of God that works when we surrender our lives to him. The First Reading shows us how this looks like. The Lord has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious. I did not turn backward, I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard. I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. Very often, obedience to God comes at a great cost to us, because this is how God transforms us into what he has planned for us.
The Gospel shows us how Jesus, despite knowing Judas will betray him, sat with Judas and literally broke bread with him. Jesus also warned Judas, that he knew Judas would betray him: the one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. And Jesus gave Judas a warning, a chance to repent: the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.
We normally see the passion as the suffering and death of Jesus to save us from our sins. But when we look at it deeply, we see the suffering of Jesus as the result of the worst thing humanity can do: to abuse God, to unjustly condemn God and to kill God himself! And in spite of his knowledge of this, Jesus readily and silently took these on because he knows it is through his death that the Father’s will for us, is done.
Jesus also knew he will be unjustly condemned, yet he willingly went through it, because this is the only way the Father can prove his eternal love for us, that he is with us in the messiness of our lives. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world by leading us through the sufferings into new life. The only way to do this is to die and rise again. Jesus said In this life, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. The resurrection of Jesus shows us the power of God to bring to life what was dead. When we have done everything and nothing seems to work, we turn to God and trust him. Through suffering, through despair, through darkness, Jesus is with us, to guide us towards new life.
We may never find the answer to why we suffer. But we will always find the answer to who is with us when we echo what the First Reading says It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty. God is with us and as he willingly goes through his suffering, we also take our share of his suffering. When we do, we will say what the Psalm says: I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
Lord, insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters but I found none. Yet Lord, I turn to you. You will heal my heart. You will be my strength. You will look on my with pity and comfort me. Jesus be with me in my sufferings. I trust in you.