I had fun last month posting my random thoughts, so I thought I would do the same again this week. Without further ado, here are twelve more after hearing Luke's Passion this Palm Sunday.
Despite knowing what awaited Him that night, our Lord had the patience and courage to keep teaching His apostles. Even as they argued over who was greatest.
Jesus tells Peter he must strengthen his brothers. I believe that duty is passed onto us as well.
Jesus heads out to the Mount of Olives. I often wonder why he liked it there so much. Did He like the backdrop of Jerusalem? Was it peaceful? Or just convenient? No matter what, it is poetic that the place He delivered Himself over to His enemies is the same place He ascended into Heaven from.
How far is a stone's throw? Are we talking a Peyton Manning throw? Or a soft underhand toss? Could they hear Him? See Him?
Jesus prays fervently and drips sweat "like drops of blood". The apostles sleep. These inharmonious images haunt me.
In my mind, Peter never denies Jesus from his heart. For me it was always a passing comment ... one meant to shoo off these people and keep himself alive. Kind of like when we tell white lies. We don't really feel like we are lying in the moment. Similarly, I really don't imagine Peter felt like he was truly denying Christ. Until that cock crowed.
Herod and Pilate became friends that day even though they had been enemies formerly. Even in the face of death, Jesus removed hatred from sinners.
The Jewish people choose Barabbas, yes. And the Romans executed Christ. But it was our sins that killed Jesus.
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves." Here was a Man headed off to be brutally murdered. And he is telling those on hand that they should cry for their future? Yikes.
"Today you will be with me in Paradise." I hope we all hear that when we are lying on our death beds. (Also, it would be a good inspirational line for a blog ;)
Our Lord's acquaintances stood at a distance and watched. I often picture them right under the cross the whole time. I forget how scared they still must have been.
He breathed His last. It must have been devastating to those who followed Him. That moment when their teacher was no longer with them. They must have been so confused; this "ending" must have been so different than they imagined. Little did they know...
Extra Credit Thought: I believe the centurion that praised God after Jesus breathed His last was the first convert based on our Lord's death.
As I was standing in line for Penance, I glanced at the front of the line. A mother was guiding her young son into the confessional.
She said something to the priest, and I heard him exclaim, "It's his first time, is it?", then to the boy "Hi there! Have a seat!"
As the boy sat down, the mother slowly backed out and started to close the door.
"Oh, you can keep that open, thank you," the priest said to the woman.
She left the door open and stepped to the side, out of view.
As the confession began, and I heard the reassuring tone of the priest, I smiled.
"What a considerate priest," I said to myself. "He left the door open so the kid could see his mom if he got nervous."
As I returned to preparing my thoughts, I got a pit in my stomach the size of a basketball.
I realized the priest did not leave the door open because he was being thoughtful.
He left it open because he had to.
He had to because a few priests did terrible things, and a blood-sucking media stereotyped an entire profession. So instead of this kid having a private confession, he shared it with everyone standing there.
I stood there in disgust.
That should have been a conversation between the child, the priest, and Jesus.
I often wonder what happened the day after the Prodigal Son returned home. With all due respect to the original parable, I always felt that the Father's celebration was ... well ... expected. I mean, what parent wouldn't rejoice upon laying eyes on a long lost son? The father in the parable must have been so overcome with joy that he didn't think twice about throwing a grand party. Likewise, after his father's pleading, I imagine the older son put his jealousy aside for the night and joined the celebration. But what about the next day? Or the week after? How did the father react when the hangover wore off? Did he start to evaluate the situation? Now that he knew his son was safe, did anger start to fester? Did he feel betrayed? Did he regret serving the fatted calf on the son that wasted half his estate? Did he put him in charge of important duties - or give him the most menial of tasks to do? And what about the older son? When his father wasn't near him, did his jealousy rage? Did he make life hard or awkward for his younger brother? Did he mope and whine instead of continuing to do his chores? Or did they forgive as Jesus wants us to forgive? Completely. Day in and day out. To me, that is the harder part. After the emotion wears off, and the words are said - actually living forgiveness in your heart and soul. I hope you are having a Blessed Lent.
For the record, I love figs. We hear about them multiple times in the Bible, including today's Gospel from Luke, in which Jesus tells a parable of the barren fig tree. Which got me thinking .... fig trees are a huge letdown. First, it can take some time (up to five years) before a fig tree even produces fruit. Second, they only bear fruit twice a year - and one of those times yields an inferior fig. This, by the way, is very frustrating to a fig lover. You wish it would produce consistently over the whole year, rather than peaking once or twice. Then it dawned on me. Jesus could tell a fig parable about me! Like the fig tree, it took me a long, long time before I started producing anything Jesus would consider "fruit". Second, I tend to "peak" religiously during the seasons of Advent and Lent. And just like I wish fig trees produced all year round, I'm sure God feels the same about me. I just pray the negative similarities end there, and I never get to the point where Jesus curses me! I hope you are having a Blessed Lent.