19 March 2013
Sermon for Passion Sunday
By Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS:
Today passiontide begins, a time especially consecrated to the remembrance and loving contemplation of the sorrows of Jesus. The veiled crucifix and statues are all signs by which the Church commemorates Our Lord’s Passion. The voice of the Lord makes itself heard these days, not by words alone, but also by the great events of the Passion through the Liturgy of the Church, a bride of Jesus Christ. Let us therefore, open our hearts to the sublime lessons of His Passion.
The Passion of Jesus teaches us in a concrete way that in the Christian life we must be able to accept suffering for the love of God. This is a hard lesson for our nature which prefers pleasure and easy way. But if Jesus commands suffering to us, it is because suffering contains a great treasure.
The vast range of sufferings which has harassed humanity is the direct outcome of the disorder caused by sin. And it was precisely in the passion of Jesus Christ that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal- so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s denial and the disciples’ flight.
Yet the Church chants, “O happy fault” “Why?” The answer lies in the infinite love of God which transforms everything and draw from the double evil of sin and suffering, the great good of our redemption. When Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind, he also assumed their consequences, suffering and death. And this suffering, embraced by Him during His whole life and especially during His Passion, became the instrument of our redemption. Pain, the result of sin, becomes in Jesus and with Jesus, the means of destroying sin itself. Thus we may not consider pain only as an undesirable burden, from which we must necessarily recoil but we must see in it much more- a means of redemption and sanctification.
So let us learn how to accept a suffering and carry it without recoiling. Let us accept suffering and humbly endure it with sincere heart. Then Jesus carries it with us. It is enough for him to see us doing it for the love of God. Then every wound, every suffering will be healed by the precious blood of Jesus.
Christ’s Blood is like an ocean of Mercy which has the power to cleanse and cure the suffering of all mankind.
So dear faithful, especially during these days let us learn how to take up the suffering heavy or light as it may be, carry it with Jesus and make it be healed in this ocean of God’s Mercy.