Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 7:1-17):
‘Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by
his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the
town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son
of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the
townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. ‘Do not
cry’ he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers
stood still, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you to get up.
shine in the world like bright stars
are offering it the word of life.’ (Ph2:15-16)
Today’s Gospel acclamation is a beautiful
summary of our mission as Christians. At
a time when Christianity - despite being on the rise worldwide - is gradually being
eroded across the western world, this little piece of scripture is a timely
reminder of our call to evangelise.
By evangelising and spreading the Gospel, as
instructed to by Christ himself, we aren’t simply passing on a simple
historical message in order to preserve it and keep it going for as long as possible.
As we journey with Christ through his Passion and
Crucifixion it is worth bearing in mind some of the little things we as human
beings are drawn to but that are contrary to God’s desire for our lives.
The intolerable pain and suffering taken on by Jesus as he
was abused, spat upon, mocked, and beaten is something we must all think about
over these next few days. Having large
nails driven into your hands and feet and being attached to a cross is
something we simply can’t imagine.
Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion was not some kind of crazy
act designed to impress.
In today’s Gospel we hear about the washing of the apostles’
feet by Jesus. Peter was very resistant
to this as it seemed completely absurd to have Jesus do such a thing. This was, after all, God made man, the
Saviour of the world! It should surely
be the other way round would have been Peter’s thinking.
Yet Jesus makes it clear that this is something he must
do. Firstly, he makes it clear that “unless
I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” This is a clear link to our Baptism and its
fundamental importance in our salvation.
As we embark on another Holy Week we cast our hearts and minds back to Christ's persecution at the hands of his executioners. Jesus' Passion was a horrific and exhausting episode filled with hate, violence, abuse, blood and gore. All directed at one person.
The culmination of this hatred and violence was death on a cross. Left to hang in shame, to be gawped at by the very people he loved and was sent to save.
But thankfully, this death on a cross was not the end.
Gospel (Matthew 16:13-19):
‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi
he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others
Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’
Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living
God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was
not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
Gospel (Luke 9:22-25):
to his disciples: ‘The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be
rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death,
and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of
mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.
For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his
life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to
have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?
Jesus is waiting to embrace each and every one of us
“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will
give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
It's often hard as human beings to admit we are tired or
weary. We have an in-built pride that
means we often brush aside any notion of weakness and soldier on. But sometimes we have to stop and appreciate
that we do have limitations and that we do need help.
In the scripture passage above Jesus is giving us the option
of going to him for that help.
Today's Gospel (Luke 21:20-28):
'Jesus said to his disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!
‘For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people.
We need to listen to Jesus
From Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30):
'Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’'