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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Passion and Death of Jesus (Thought for the Day Part 111)

Gospel reading: John 18:1-19:42

In that most dramatic event almost two millennia ago, the main protagonists were Jesus and Satan. Satan seemingly won the day, with the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Of course, we know Satan was the one who really lost.

Now, this drama continues to be played out even today, with the fight between Jesus and Satan, this time over human souls. This is about all of us who live on earth. This is about whether we triumph with Jesus, or we are damned with Satan. Let us look at the different personages in the drama at that time, and see how we might identify with any of them.

There was Judas, who betrayed Jesus. We do betray Jesus in various ways (please see Thought for the Day article of April 13).

There was the band of Roman soldiers and Jewish guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees (v.18:3). These are the power forces that back up the powers-that-be. They are the military, political, economic, and social powers that help impose tyrannical rule by the globalist elite over everyone else.

There was Simon Peter. He was zealous and protective of Jesus. He struck with the sword to try to prevent his arrest (v.18:10). Then he followed Jesus as events unfolded, but ended up denying him three times. There are those of us who love Jesus and are most loyal to him, who profess to live our lives for him and would even be ready to give up our lives for him, but we do at times (1) use our own human wisdom, often contrary to God’s wisdom, as to how to rise in defense of Jesus, and (2) we may be intimidated when confronted by enemy forces and end up not standing up for Jesus and the fullness of faith.

There was Caiaphas, the high priest, who counseled the Jews that it was better for one man to die rather than the people (v.18:14). There are those State and Church leaders who impose their human and secular ideas upon the masses of people, including modernists in our Church today, who in effect sacrifice Jesus and his righteousness for the sake of the social “well-being” of the people.

There was Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. To his credit, he found nothing criminal about Jesus and wanted to release him, but was overpowered by the mob demanding Jesus’ death. There are of course people who are still right-minded and who know what is right and just, but who do not stand firmly for their principles in the face of determined and mass opposition. They allow themselves to do what they know to be wrong in order to please or placate others.

There were the chief priests, who had conspired against Jesus and who now cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” (v.19:6). How tragic it is when religious leaders are the ones who persecute Christ, even working to bring about the death of his body on earth. This is the case with modernist teachers and pastors and especially hierarchs, who have overturned the authentic faith of Jesus, embracing and managing the demise of the Church.

There were the Jews, who also cried out, “Crucify him!” (v.19:15). These are the majority of Christians who are lapsed, who have left the faith, who are not striving to live out the fullness of the faith, and who flow along with the cultural tide. They in effect reject Christ and continue to persecute him.

There were the soldiers who crucified Jesus and divided his garments among them (v.19:23-24). These are among the forces that continue to assault faith, family, and life, and that are moving the world into socialist tyranny, where even the garments of the people are taken from them. These personal, intimate, and valued garments are their personal rights, freedoms (of religion, travel, way of life), choices, and even private property.

There were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who took Jesus body and brought it to the burial place (v.19:38-40). Joseph was “secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews” (v.19:38). Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night (v.19:39a). They were believers but were afraid of the powers-that-be. They are like many today, both cleric and lay, who meekly toe the modernist and totalitarian line of State and Church, who do not speak out prophetically against the evils being perpetrated, who unwittingly contribute to the rot in the world and the Church.

Then there were Mary and the women at the foot of the cross (v.19:25), together with John. They lamented and suffered through the passion of Jesus. They endured and stood by him up to death, at the foot of the cross.

Most of the peoples of the world today, and tragically also those counted among God’s people, are like those who contributed in some way to the brutalization and crucifixion of Jesus. May we not be counted among them.

We must look to the cross of Christ, and know its profound meaning. We must not avoid the cross but embrace it. In this is victory not defeat, life, not death, hope not hopelessness. We look to Mary, of whom Jesus tells us who are his disciples, “Behold, your mother,” and we take her into our homes (v.19:27).

Praise you, Jesus, our Savior, and our Lord.

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