CIMAGALANOW that we are in Holy Week, it’s good to remind ourselves of how important it is to meditate on the Passion of Christ. It’s the culminating act of his redemptive mission that covers his whole life here on earth. Everything that he is as the Son of God who became man, everything that he said and did for our salvation is contained there.
We have to understand, on the basis of our Christian faith, that the Passion of Christ is an organic whole that includes his death on the Cross and his resurrection. It is also organically linked to everything else about him.
Nothing in his life is irrelevant or unnecessary in his Passion. It should not be considered in isolation. It’s good that we realize this truth of our faith more deeply and more practically, so that we don’t develop an unnecessary distorted attitude toward it that often translates itself into a certain dislike for it.
The Passion, in spite of its ugliness, pain and gore, is actually a beautiful, desirable event that we should get attracted to. In the first place, it is an essential and necessary element in our life. We cannot avoid it without compromising our eternal destiny.
And being God and not only as man, Christ makes his Passion take place live every time the liturgy of his Passion is celebrated. This is highlighted precisely during this Holy Week, but is actually presented to us also every time the Holy Mass or any liturgical act is celebrated.
And so, when we participate in that celebration, we are actually, through the sacramental economy, living witnesses of the event, even if only in a sacramental way. We become contemporaries of Christ in his supreme act of love for us.
Therefore, while involving extreme suffering that a man can experience, the Passion actually is also a joyful event of a victory, a conquest over what is most harmful to us—sin, and with sin our eternal death.
We should train our mind and heart to capture this wonderful reality, presented to us by our Christian faith, and to react accordingly, that is, to enter into the very dynamics of loving, and thereby bringing our fondness for loving to its ultimate level, extricating it from the low, base and often fake and deceptive forms of love.
In the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, we see in action those very consoling words of Christ: “Greater love than this no man has, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13)
What actually takes place there is Christ, being sinless, assuming all our sins and dying to them so that we may have a way to resurrect from them through his own Resurrection. This is the ultimate of love!
This much the Letter to the Hebrews affirms: “Christ offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.” (9,28)
This is what supreme love is all about. It is not contented with wishing others well or sharing things with others. It will go to the extent of suffering for the others, making as one’s own the burdens of the others, even if the others would not correspond. It is a love that is fully given and completely gratuitous.
Thus, when we meditate on the Passion of Christ, we have to realize the love that drips copiously. We should not forget that sin is what causes it, and therefore, we should do everything to avoid sin.
It’s good to develop a healthy hatred of sin as well as a certain dominion over it, such that as much as possible we do not allow it to affect us badly. If ever, it should make us intensify our love for God and others, giving ourselves more and more in a crescendo typical of love.
We have to be very generous in our self-giving and continuing effort of sanctification, both personal and social. We have to be ready to carry out this task competently.
And since we cannot avoid sin, the meditation of the Passion should reassure us of the infinite mercy of God. We have to be very generous in our spirit of penance, always seeking conversion, renewal and the many forms of atonement, reparation and purification.
Special attention has to be given to the sacrament of confession, that wonderful tribunal of divine justice and mercy. We need to love it deeply by resorting to it regularly.