Patience, Passion, Endurance
Patience. The scriptures tell us that the Lord hears the cry of the poor… but not necessarily as quickly as we would like! For almost three weeks now the cries of millions for justice in the case of a teenager senselessly killed in Florida refuses to be silent in the face of justice delayed. For the parents, the delay must be excruciating. But when failure is not an option, giving up is out of the question. Without patience in our spiritual walk we sputter and eventually come to a complete halt. In the first reading today, God gave Isaiah a well-trained tongue and well-worn knees on which to pray! He was not turning his back on God even when God seemed deaf to his voice. He would wait. He would trust that God would come through. Will you wait on God to bring you through? Have you ever considered the possibility that maybe it’s God who is waiting on you? Waiting to see what you will do?
Passion. Jesus said in today’s gospel: “All of you will have your faith shaken”! This includes you and me. There are no exceptions! For this reason the Church invites us every year on Palm Sunday to pay close attention to how Jesus carries himself through the excruciating circumstances of what we call The Passion of Christ. Passion literally means “to suffer”. Everyone suffers but not everyone suffers well. Some just fall apart, others grow bitter, and others suffer valiantly and with great courage. Why the difference? The secret lies in Jesus’s life itself. Have you noticed that we never read in the gospels Jesus saying to his disciples, “Ok guys, write this down.” But he does say repeatedly “Follow me!” As a Teacher, Jesus’s greatest lesson is his life! Look at me, he says, and learn (Matthew 11:29). Watch how he clings to his Father in heaven especially when the suffering is most fierce. This was the real “Passion of the Christ’ – his passionate love for his Father and his compassionate heart for us!
Endurance. Jesus sweated blood in the garden. But he didn’t stop praying. He pleaded for deliverance from the cross, but in the end resigned himself to doing his Father’s will. He proclaimed the truth and was convicted by lies, but he kept telling the truth anyhow. He was beaten and flogged and His love was mocked and rejected. He kept on loving anyway. The people yelled “Crucify him!” He cried out to his Father for our forgiveness. St Paul said it perfectly: “Love is patient, love is kind…it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13). Jesus will never quit on you. True love never does. True love endures.