A Reflection on the Passion
by Anne a lay apostle
April 21, 2011
A few years back I was in the hospital. There were very large windows along one side of the ward. One evening, I sat and I looked out this big beautiful window and watched the sunset. This was glorious. The sunset was so beautiful and it seemed that it went on and on. I was taking great comfort from this sunset. Someone approached me and looked out for the moment and said, "These windows are shockingly filthy." This was an accurate observation. Every window gets dirty and there were lots of streaks on the outside of this window from the weather. But it wasn't until I looked closely that I noticed these streaks.
I think this must be how Jesus views each one of us. I think Jesus looks at us and I think He looks right past the flaws and the weaknesses and the failures and I think that Jesus sees instead this beautiful drama that is taking place in the soul of each one of us, this fantastic, this steady, if slow, movement to holiness.
Jesus often talks about returning love for hostility. We understand that pure love is often treated by the world with cynicism and suspicion. We know that Jesus tells us to love one another. He doesn't say "Love one another and make sure they love you back." We can't control whether or not our love is returned any more than Jesus Christ can control whether or not we return His love. We can only be like Jesus and continue to love and continue to hope that others will accept our love.
We know that Jesus suffered terribly on the cross, even though He knew there was a plan and that His Passion was necessary to that plan. This is part of the reason that Jesus is so compassionate to each one of us in our fear and suffering. He understands because He also experienced fear and suffering in His humanity. As such, we want Jesus to be interested in our pain and we want to return that interest and be interested in His pain. Sometimes, the kindest thing we can do for another is to be interested in their pain.
Now, if we study Jesus on the cross, and we must strive to do this, we can consider who was there for Jesus.
Who stayed with Jesus through His Passion? Who did He see when He looked down from the cross?
I do not know whether or not John knew what to expect that day but I imagine he could not have anticipated just how bad it would get. The day got uglier and uglier and eventually culminated in the Passion. And John stayed.
We, lay apostles, must strive to serve in the same way. How do we do this? Every morning we rise and we pledge our allegiance to God. Then, we attempt to remain with Jesus in service throughout the day. Our service begins in the morning and carries on through each day during which we want to be committed to the Lord's goals in each moment.
I think He looked down at John and I think Jesus felt incredibly grateful that John had showed up and that John had stayed. In the same way, I think we need to remember that this is how Jesus views each one of us. Jesus looks at us and He does not concentrate on our sins, our weaknesses or our mistakes, these 'streaks' on our souls. I think Jesus feels grateful that we are there, reporting for service, and I think Jesus hopes that we'll stay. All that Jesus needs to get rid of these streaks is our repentance.
In our Church we have the Sacrament of Confession, which, consistent with our Lay Apostle pledge, we participate in monthly. This is how Jesus erases our streaks. When we go to Confession and the Lord sends these beautiful graces, I think He is so pleased to see us in this forgiven, peaceful state.