Isaiah 50, 4-7 + Psalm 22 + Philippians 2, 6-11 + Matthew 26, 14-27,66
April 2, 2023 at St. Agnes, St. William & St. Peter Churches in Naples, FL
At Saint William Church in Naples, FL
I think that Social Scienteists will look back the years of our lifetime and call this “The Age of the Victim”. Playing the role of victim has somehow taken over the psyche of many people in the western world. It goes along with the system of blame that we have cultivated. Someone is always responsible for my troubles and misery, and then the victim begins to cry out: “Why me?” “How could this happen to me?” A pity party has almost taken the place of a Birthday Party.
We can listen to Matthew’s Passion and learn hour Jesus confronted evil. Jesus was no helpless victim. He knew from the Prophets he had heard all his life in the synagogue what was likely to happen, and he went straight into Jerusalem. He could have run and hid when that crowd marched into that garden. He heard and saw them coming.
He faced their threats and his own fears because nothing could sway him from being true to who he was: The Son of Man, The Son of God. Never think for one minute that his Divine Nature interfered or took over his Human Nature. To do that makes this whole thing a charade. It was his relationship with to God as a child of God that let him face freely the conflict of his life.
In Mattew’s Passion, it is clear from every detail that God is in charge and what happens is all according to God’s plan. That is the Jesus Matthew presents to us, a man whose trust in God, who believes in God’s providence, is willing to be obedient to the will and plan of God even if it isn’t understandable or agreeable to his plan. So, he faced those who would betray him, torture him, and sentence him to death with silence. He refuses to argue. He simply prays just as he taught us to pray: “They will be done.” Even at the moment of his death there is cry that is the ultimate prayer. Even while feeling deserted, he turned to the God he could never fully understand. There is no greater prayer. At that moment, a veil that separated the holy from the profane was ripped from heaven to earth. A God who has become vulnerable and visible is no longer sperate from creation.
And now today we leave it right here. We stop now in wonder over a God who loves us enough to die with us to ponder what it all means and why. The answer to it all comes through each day of this Holy Week. It is time to watch and pray letting Jesus lead us more deeply into the mystery and wonder of our God whose arms streach out to embrace us all.