“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:6-8
These words of St. Paul are a perfect description of Jesus’ last days on earth.
Let’s look at what those days were like: With only a few more hours to help and guide them, he found himself calming his quarreling disciples, reminding them that none was superior to the others and that they should concentrate on preparing to spread the Good News and caring for the believers. He instituted the Eucharist; the most monumental act in history, all the while sitting at the table with the one he knew had betrayed him for money! He went to the garden to pray what may have been the most human prayers he ever said, and begged for a reprieve, but he knew the Father’s will and surrendered himself to it. Then the troops and Pharisees arrived and roughly bound his hands like we use handcuffs and marched him away like a serial killer. He was dragged around the city from one official to another, verbally scorned by men who believed themselves superior to everyone else, men who were put to shame by his quiet humility. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to death in an affair, which was more farce than trial. His disciples fled and Peter, his rock, succumbing to temptation, denied him. He stood alone, as alone as anyone has ever been. That was just the beginning. Next came the physical assault, the shame and the grief that his mother must witness it all, culminating in the gruesome death.
If you look closely at the events that unfolded that day you can see the plight of the whole human race in the death of one person. On that terrible day he experienced all the unbearable things humans bear. He was one of us more that day than any other. It is this knowledge that makes the resurrection so momentous. This man, this very human man has conquered death. Ironically, it is now we who say with conviction, “What further need have we of proof?” (Luke 23:71)
When someone we love dies, we grieve but we know that because they loved us, they would not want us to concentrate on their last painful days but instead rejoice that they lived. And so it is with Jesus. Easter is a day of rejoicing but more than that it should be a day in which we pledge to spread the joy of the Living Christ.
I wish you all every blessing on this awesome day and encourage you to live a joyful life in Christ. Its what he would have wanted.