The ‘Insignificant’ Parts of Jesus’ Passion Hold Lessons
Lent Reflection -- 1st Week of Lent
Father Edilberto Jarapa, St. Thomas More Parish, Elgin Parochial vicar
February 23, 2023
Jesus is the central figure in the Passion story. Through Jesus offering His life on the cross, we gain salvation and we see the greatest expression of God’s love for us. 
 
For now, though, I would like to focus our Lenten reflection not on the lead role but on the seemingly insignificant accessories that were used to accomplish the saving action of God.
 
The Crown of Thorns
 
“The head is not only the source (arch") of the body but also the stabilizing factor (bebaiote),” according to St. John Chrysostom. 
 
Inflicting pain on the head could mean destabilizing Jesus’ whole body. 
 
Imagine how it feels to wear the crown of thorns. Jesus must have been under excruciating pain as every tip of the thorns pierced through the thin line between skin and skull. Jesus was tormented by pain. 
 
But such harsh conditions did not affect His determination to finish His mission. His will did not give up and His mind was set to accomplish what He started. 
 
In life, there are many thorns that pierce through our head to our brain: the thorns of bad memories, anxieties and worries, purposelessness, and hopelessness. 
 
They tell our bodies to stop fighting and living. We start to give up on carrying out our mission and responsibilities in this world. Our painful experiences infect us. We look down at the ground and feel like people without honor, deprived of happiness. 
 
For us Catholics, having the crown of thorns is a privilege to learn the beauty of life. Lent invites us to reaffirm our commitment to fulfill our mission in life despite the struggles surrounding us.
 
The Nails
 
Human hands and feet are two important parts of the body that allow a person to reach out and move
 to different places. 
 
The nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus took away this purpose. Jesus could no longer touch the sick, embrace the abandoned and go to unfamiliar territories. When He was nailed to the cross, the chance of meeting the Savior and experiencing divine manifestations was put to an end. 
 
We Catholics enjoy so much freedom in our present time, endowed with hands and feet that can contribute to God’s mission of building His kingdom. 
 
However, our hands and feet have been nailed by our selfishness. We seldom extend our hands to help, love and accept our neighbors. Our feet get stuck in our comfort zone and we avoid looking after the needy, marginalized and rejected. 
 
This season of Lent, let us start uprooting the nails that deprive us from loving others, and begin sharing Jesus’ love with them.
 
The Wooden Cross
 
The earthly journey of Jesus from the wooden crib ends at His death on the wooden cross. 
 
The load of the cross took a toll on his body. And alongside the pain all over His body, the weight of our sins took His life. 
 
That wooden cross, which was a form of punishment for hardened criminals, became the symbol of God’s greatest expression of love for humankind because, by the Holy Cross, Jesus had redeemed the world.
 
All of us Catholics carry our own crosses, and most of our prayers are for God to take away the cross from us because we cannot carry the load anymore. 
 
We are tired and uncertain if we can carry it. We become hopeless because we fix our eyes on the wooden cross and its weight. 
 
We don’t realize that with us is Jesus who was crucified and died on the cross. We need to trust Him, for He said;  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30) 
 
This Lent, let us appreciate the value of His sacrifice and how this will lead us closer to God.
 
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