Living the Gospel – March 28, 2021

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Passion Sunday Today is called Passion Sunday when we recall the “passion” of Christ. The first thing that used to come into my mind was the strong emotions that Jesus underwent – the sense of futility at the mock trial, the loneliness as his disciples ran from him and denied even knowing him, and of course the agony of the crucifixion itself? All these fit into the definition of passion as a strong emotion.

But perhaps I’ve been looking at the wrong definition of “passion.” Webster defines passion as something that is desired intensely. We are all familiar with that definition when we refer to someone’s passion for a particular hobby or interest. For Jesus, his passion, his dedication in life, was for the salvation of all mankind. So strongly did he feel the need for this that he willingly gave up his own life. And it wasn’t just figuratively, as a priest or religious may give up a “normal” life to serve the Lord. Jesus gave up his body and lifeblood for us. I am one of those people he laid down his life for. It was his passion.

The natural next question is, of course, how have I responded to this great gift of his life? Have I brushed it aside to keep my own life, my independence of others, as well as of God? Or have I responded with gratitude and a determination to live in the manner he tried to teach me to live? To be sure I have told the Lord that I want to give my all in return, but that seldom even lasts through the 40 days of Lent much less a commitment that commands the rest of my life.

What if I did make my true passion a commitment to God? What would that look like? Would it mean moving close enough to an active church that I could attend daily Mass? Would it mean putting daily prayer time before caring for my family? Already I can see my commitment to God isn’t as high a level as I thought it was, and what’s worse, I’m not ready to give it that high of a priority. These final days of Lent I need to take the time to establish just where God and Church stand in my priorities. Am I seriously willing to turn over EVERYTHING to God, my fears, my weaknesses, my pleasures, as well as those material things I wrap around myself for security? Is my faith my actual passion?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

We are the Christ’s passion. What about you – what are you passionate about?

Linda Crowley