Reflections on the Passion in Luke

  • Christ Carrying the Cross by Hieronymous Bosch, 1485-1490.At the Last Supper, Jesus says he has “eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…” Jesus did not allow stress to prevent him from enjoying the people and good things in his life. Do I experience joy at Holy Mass? Do I eagerly desire it?
  • Taking a cup, Jesus says, “I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” The next time Jesus drinks wine is on his cross; so God’s kingdom has begun on earth. Despite my trials, what good things am I looking forward to?
  • An argument breaks out among the apostles about which of them should be regarded as the greatest. Justifying ourselves through comparisons with others undermines our personal growth. Instead, Jesus commends imitating him as a servant to all.
  • To save Jerusalem, David tearfully fled the city by way of the Mount of Olives to escape his traitorous son, Absalom. Jesus also retreats there but resolves not to elude his betrayer and escape his death so that he might save us all.
  • Jesus is in such agony, praying so fervently in the garden, that his sweat becomes as drops of blood falling on the ground. This describes Hematidrosis, which has been observed in rare modern cases of people undergoing acute fear and intense mental contemplation. While I seek relief, do I offer my physical and emotional sufferings as a sacrifice?
  • He approaches Jesus to kiss him and Jesus asks, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Does my familiar intimacy with holy things lead me to hold them cheaply?
  • Jesus’ disciples realize what is about to happen and ask, “Lord, shall we strike with a sword?” However, they act before he can reply. Do I discern prayerfully and wait patiently for the Lord’s direction?
  • One of the disciples (St. Peter) strike the high priest’s servant (Malchus) and cut off his right ear. Jesus exclaims, “Stop, no more of this!” He touches the servant’s ear and heals him. Those without faith in Jesus cannot be converted by violence, that cuts off their ears to hear. Do I share Jesus Christ and my Catholic Faith in a winsome way?
  • Peter was willing to fight and die for Jesus in the garden, when he thought it would make a difference, but Peter did not recognize the importance of acknowledging Jesus to those around the fire. Do I recognize the importance of being faithful to Christ in all company and every moment?
  • Both Peter and Judas regretted what they had done, but Peter returned to Jesus. When I sin, do I delay to repent and return to Jesus?
  • Jesus was condemned for identifying as the Son of God and king of the Jews. When was the last time I suffered for telling the truth?
  • Pilate is glad to refer Jesus’ case to Herod. Pilate never hates Jesus, but sins through not caring about him. Who am I indifferent towards?
  • Herod enjoyed listening to John the Baptist until he had him executed. Jesus gives the unrepentant Herod only silence. Do I receive and heed God’s written and preached word when I can?
  • Barabbas is a murderer and a rebel. His name means “Son of the Father.” The crowds call out for him to be released to them instead of Jesus. Is my hope greater in political actors rather than the Lord?
  • Peter three-times denies Jesus and Pilate condemns Jesus after three-times declaring him innocent. They fold because they fear what others will say or do. Do I allow other people to persuade me to compromise on the truth or what is right?
  • The crowd cries, “Crucify him!” Every decision to sin chooses, at least in a small way, to exile Christ from our world.
  • Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, was pressed to carry Jesus’ cross. If Simon Peter had remained faithful, perhaps he would have come to Jesus’ aid. When I sin, what good do I forfeit?
  • The women of Jerusalem mourning and lamenting Jesus, crying for his Passion to end, may have served as a temptation for Jesus. He redirects them to pray for their own families’ deliverance. Do I pray for the salvation of my family and friends?
  • Two criminals were crucified beside Jesus. They symbolize all humanity, and Jesus suffers and dies among them. One is saved and one is likely lost.
  • One criminal acknowledges, “We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Do I consider what my sins would deserve apart from the saving mercy of God?
  • Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Do I assume malice where simple ignorance could explain the behavior of others?
  • Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” and breathes his last. What do I want my final, dying words to be?

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