“THAT THE SECRET THOUGHTS OF MANY MAY BE LAID BARE”
Meditation for Passion Sunday, YEAR C
(Lk 19:28-40; Lk 22:14-23:56)
Today’s liturgical celebration ushers in the holy Week. Our celebration begins with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We gather outside the church with palms, and from there make a solemn procession into the Church, while chanting ‘Hosanna’, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus was welcomed into the great city of Jerusalem with so much acclamation and joy. He marched with dignity and royalty, and the people welcomed Him as a King. What a beautiful way to step into the great hour of His suffering and death for our salvation.
But the praises roused up jealousy and anger from the Pharisees, who told Him to rebuke his disciples. Jesus answered them, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Nothing can stop the praises and glory due to God. If man refuses to worship God, other creatures will manifest His glory!
As our celebration traces the Passion of Christ, we meditate on how the secrete thoughts of those around Him were silently revealed. At the presentation of Jesus in the temple, Simeon said to Mary, “Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed—and a sword will pierce your soul too—so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare” (Lk 2:34-35). At this hour, the greed of Judas and his fake love for Jesus, which he nurtured for him for years, is now exposed and it worked against him. Peter appeared like a resolute apostle, who would stand with Jesus at all times. But at this hour, his weakness in prayer was revealed as he slept off at the mount of Olives. Above all, Peter’s lack of courage at the moment of trial, and his denial of Jesus at the slightest inconvenience and for comfort was laid bare. Peter was healed of these because he REMEMBERED the words of Jesus and turned his heart back to his Master, and wept bitterly in repentance (Lk 22:61-62).
The hour of Jesus laid bare for all to see the secret thoughts of the Pharisees and the elders. The bitter heart and jealousy they nurtured for years could no longer be hidden. The calmness and silence of Jesus exposed their restless hearts as ran around looking for false accusations. Their hypocrisy was self-evident. The Pharisees relied on the strength of the soldiers to catch Jesus and crucify Him. But when the heavily armed army approached Jesus, their weakness was clear for all to see! How can you carry arms to arrest a man who has no arms, and whose offense was what he said and the miracles he performed on the Sabbath? (LK 22:52-53).
Pilate and Herod were great leaders, respected and feared. But the trial of Jesus exposed them and rendered them powerless! In making fun of Jesus, Herod exposed his foolishness, and is always portrayed as a clown. Pilate was tormented by his own trial of Jesus, and he ‘washed off’ his power; he surrendered to the voice of the crowd even against his conscience, set the guilty man free, and gave away the innocent Jesus to be crucified!
The hour of Jesus, the hour of the cross, always lay bare the secret thoughts and hidden behaviours of our lives. It is also the moment of healing and testimony, for as Jesus died, the Centurion praised God and said, “Truly, this was an upright man” (Lk 23:47). The same praise that the Pharisees tried to suppress at His great entry into Jerusalem is now echoed at His death. No one can stop the praise of God. Let us connect our hearts to the Cross of Christ that our secret thoughts may be laid bare and be healed. Then, our lives will testify and proclaim the glory of God, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday April 10th, 2022.