A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Before the Cross

Posted on: March 25, 2013

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13*)

Think, for just a moment, about something that you dread but can’t avoid—like a speech, an exam, an interview, a journey, an operation—and that will lead to something better. Does it give you butterflies in the stomach, clammy hands, sleepless nights?

Whatever it is and however you feel can’t begin to compare with what Jesus faced in the days before his death on the cross. As the Gospels tell us, he was welcomed and hailed by the crowds one day but would suffer much in the days that followed:

  • Judas would betray him.
  • His followers would abandon him.
  • Peter would deny him.
  • Pilate would order his crucifixion.
  • Soldiers would mock and scourge him, force him to carry his cross through the streets, and crucify him next to criminals.
  • While he hung on the cross, the priests, scribes, elders and passersby would mock him.
  • He would suffer, die, and be buried in someone else’s tomb.

Luke 22:42-44 tells us that Jesus prayed as his suffering was about to begin:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.

Then he faced all this for our sake, knowing that his suffering would save us and that he would soon be returning to the Father and sending the Holy Spirit to guide us.

I had learned all this as a child, but it really sank in when I watched The Passion of the Christ. While certain parts of this film have been criticized, the movie makes it very clear just how much Jesus suffered for our sake.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

This week, I hope that you will have some time to spend in prayer to think about Jesus’ love and sacrifice. If your prayer time is limited, maybe you could listen to some praise songs in the car or while you do chores. Here are a few songs for the week from my own CDs:

I also hope that you would have the chance to participate in other Holy Week services along with the Easter (or Easter Vigil) service and pray that you would be filled with joy at knowing Jesus came to save you.

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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