Things are coming to a head – just as Jesus had feared and anticipated before he had travelled to Jerusalem. He had a powerful sense that his preaching and teaching would not be accepted by the religious leaders. They were too entrenched in the customs, traditions, laws, rules, rituals and ceremonies all of which had hardened their hearts and prevented them from seeing and recognising love and goodness right there before them.
It is easy for us to judge and even condemn them. The horrible reality and truth is that, in so many ways (if we had to be truly honest with ourselves) we have become like them – and date I say, so has our Church. Jesus came to change hearts but the hardest hearts were those of the religious leaders. The speech of Caiaphas the high priest is quite a revelation! Selfish interests would come before the truth. “Everybody will believe in him” is his great fear, and then of course they will lose power and control. So he uses the threat of the Roman authority (whom he presumes will be displeased) to influence and convince the people.
Their determination to kill him is astounding! For what? Raising a man from the dead? Giving sight to a blind man? Curing a man unable to walk for 38 years? Preaching about love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness? Calling God Father? Restoring the sanctity and sacredness of the Temple?
This is what happens when we lose our focus on faith! That is why we need this time and this Lenten Season to help us to regain our focus or to refocus. If we don’t or refuse to grasp this opportunity then our hearts will remain as stubborn, closed and as hard as the hearts of Caiaphas and the religious leaders. The events of Holy Week ahead will pass us by without any real meaningful change or impact.
Tomorrow Passion/Palm Sunday begins the holiest week in the Christian calendar. It is our opportunity to focus on our faith and to enter as fully as possible into the Lord’s passion, suffering, death and resurrection. Sadly we are unable to attend the Holy Week services due to the nationwide lockdown. To make this week a Holy Week, please download our parish app (instructions are on www.bryanstoncatholic.co.za) and for each service there will be a special prayer service to do at home with your family, and a video on our YouTube channel. This way, we can stay connected to our parish and experience Holy Week.
Father, as the saving work of your Son Jesus intensifies, strengthen my faith and give me the courage to step aside from the routine of my life that I may enter as fully as possible into the events of this Holy Week and walk with Jesus my Lord and Saviour. Amen. Change my Heart O God!