Reflections on the Passion

The cross of Christ has changed the meaning of pain and human suffering — of every kind of suffering, physical and moral. It is no longer punishment, a curse. It was redeemed at its root when the Son of God took it upon himself. What is the surest proof that the drink someone offers you is not poisoned? It is if that person drinks from the same cup before you do. This is what God has done: on the cross he drank, in front of the whole world, the cup of pain down to its dregs. This is how he showed us it is not poisoned, but that there is a pearl at the bottom of this chalice. (Homily of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap for the Good Friday)

We are in a very different passion week setting and I would like to put down some of my thoughts. (There is no gradual development).

  1. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus (who knows that his death is near) eats the ‘last meal’ with his disciples in a solemn fashion. Those Indians who follow the news might have heard that the Nirbhaya convicts didn’t eat the last meal. The last meal can only be eaten in peace by a few people, who have some hope. Probably this sign of hope of Jesus was a living testimony to his teachings and a model for us in our present situation. The later incidents (especially the agony in the garden and the cry on the cross) reveals that this hope is not the absence of fear, but hope and love is much more than the fear. (Some insights from a piece by Dr. Sooraj Pitapalli).

A beautiful quote from Chesterton on Courage could end this…

“Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if we will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

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