Jesus the Messiah was not about the imposition of political authority through force of arms, rather the Messiah triumphed through suffering love and the forgiveness of sins, through “bearing the cross” (8:34). The cross is evidence that the world hates the good, the loving, the kind, and the just. God came to us in Jesus Christ, and we crucified him. Our world is full of violence, lying, malice, greed, warfare, prejudice, and hatred, but “the cross which we take up is dying to such standards and values” (Macquarie). The cross and the resurrection reveal that non-violence, truthfulness, kindness, mercy, goodwill, and love ultimately overcome evil, malice, hatred, and death itself.
We participate in that overcoming when we follow the ways of Jesus, the Messiah. We do this in more ways than we may think: We embrace a child who needs friendship and love. We alleviate suffering. We befriend someone with few or no friends. We seek to be reconciled with our enemies. We see someone scapegoat another person or a group of people and we refuse to participate in such scapegoating. We use no violence to control and manipulate another person. We resist the urge to call fire down upon our personal and national enemies. May we take up our cross and follow Jesus the Messiah!
Let us pray that by growing in love and compassion we bring the peace of Christ to the world: God our Father, your Word, Jesus Christ, spoke peace to a sinful world, and brought humankind the gift of reconciliation by the suffering and death he endured. Teach us to follow the example he gave us and may our faith, hope, and charity turn hatred into love, conflict into peace, and death into eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen. (Weekly Missal)
Let us pray during this Lenten Season that we turn fully to God and people: God of the covenant of love, you invite us to follow your Son. As the Holy Spirit led him to the desert, may he open our eyes to see the wastelands of evil that we have created in our world. May we learn from Jesus to believe in the Good News and to give shape to your Kingdom of truth, justice and unselfish love. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.