My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The four Evangelists who wrote the Gospel were very discreet describing the details of the way of the cross our Blessed Lord undertook, and the crucifixion itself. Their account of Jesus suffering and death is so modest that the Christians in Europe who were unfamiliar with this kind of death created the crucifix which is still widespread across the world. The crucifix, most likely you have got in your place too, depicts the nails piercing Jesus’ hands whether now we know that nails had to go through the wrists to support the body on the cross. We may ask why the ones who followed Jesus as his disciples in the Holy Land didn’t give the next generations some blood soaked stories of the Saviour’s Holy Week. I believe that is was because their world was already soaked with blood. Their fellow believers were ripped apart at the spectacles for the depraved public of the Roman Empire. The Evangelists didn’t want to publish a script of Jesus final days which would fit into that blood thirsty atmosphere. If I haven’t seen the Passion movie it has been because I am aware that this blood thirsty atmosphere is still present in our world. Only last year ninety thousands of Christians were killed because of their faith. Ninety thousands of women, children and men who professed their faith in Jesus Christ were martyred. Their life and death witness suffice me more than I can imagine.
I also believe that the Evangelists didn’t write a horror story because the people of God from the time of Exodus were sacrificing Passover lambs every year in an act of faith in the Messiah who would come into this world with such love for the people that his death was inevitable, people would take advantage of such love. We know that they did. St John the Baptist, who upon seeing Jesus, said: “Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” was given an insight into what was to come. John the Baptist who leaped for joy in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin carrying the Saviour of the world under her heart, once again recognized the fulfilment of the ancient Passover rituals taking place. He sensed the divine love emanating from Jesus which could have no other ending but being taken advantage of.
My Dear Friends! Jesus didn’t die because he wanted to die. He died because he loved in the way only God can love. In the opening prayer of this Eucharist we prayed: “Almighty ever living God bestow your peace on our times.” The peace we keep praying for is Jesus Christ, who is our peace. As we partake in this Mass at the beginning of the Ordinary Time, which brings back the green color to our celebrations, the color of hope, we will hear again from the priest the words John the Baptist uttered that day when he saw Jesus Christ near the Jordan River: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world, Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Let us receive the Lord, let us long for him, let us love him for the love he bears for us. His love is perpetuated at every Mass when our Blessed Lord sacrifices for us. He doesn't give us a bloody spectacle which could compete with the production of Mel Gibson but he does give us his love in a very concrete way: his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine. It was love which led him to do this, may love be the reason we receive this sacrifice, modest in appearance but powerful in its mystery.