The Passion

Fr. Richard Rohr wrote, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” As much as we try to avoid it, and as understandable the effort, we (will) encounter pain in our lives. Our hearts ache and are broken innumerable times by the death of a loved one, by the thoughtlessness of another, by sickness or failure or struggling because of what we believe, or simply life not working out as one had hoped. What do we do with that pain? Where do we go with it? Palm Sunday shows us the path. We begin witnessing Jesus’ joy as he enters Jerusalem, the throngs of disciples finally understanding who he is: “Hosanna to the Son of David.” He is the Christ. The Messiah. But by the end of the gospel, we hear of his crushing disappointment: betrayed by Judas, abandoned by his disciples, denied by Peter, falsely accused by the Pharisees, cast aside by the once jubilant crowd in favor of Barabbas, mocked by Pilate and Herod, ridiculed and tortured by soldiers. Even in his crucifixion, he had to endure the contempt of the Pharisees beneath the cross and the scorn of one of the thieves. How do you hold in your heart that kind of suffering? For Jesus, suffering was sacred. And sacred suffering heals. Offering up His life rather than taking another’s. Forgiving his tormentor’s even though they expressed no remorse. Caring for His mother at the foot of the cross. Extending compassion to the good thief. Offering consolation to the weeping women of Jerusalem. Suffering that would lead to death that would lead to new life. His suffering was sacred for it brought new life into the world. This is the path we walk in life and especially during this Holy Week. Our wounds must be sacred ones. Our suffering must bring holiness into the world. If our faith does not show us how to transform our pain into a sacred wound, then it is a useless. If we cannot find a way to have our suffering bring grace into our life and that of the world, then what use is this faith of ours? We enter into Holy Week, and begin to reflect upon the redemptive suffering of Christ, and ask ourselves,

“Where are my wounds? Are they sacred? Have they brought grace into the world?” We will go before God to be judged and He will ask us, “Where are your wounds?” and we will say, “We have no wounds.” And God will ask, “Was there nothing worth fighting for?” – Alan Boesak