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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Reflection/Homily: Palm/Passion Sunday – Year C

Reflection/Homily: Palm/Passion Sunday – Year C
Theme: The Painful Betrayal of a Friend

William Shakespeare in his play “Julius Caesar” narrated the betrayal of Julius Caesar by his best friend Marcus Junius Brutus. Brutus conspired with some senators to attack Caesar who made every effort to resist his attackers. But when Caesar noticed the involvement of Brutus in the attack, he knew he had been betrayed by a friend and was disposed to be defeated. Stabbed with a dagger, Caesar died with the words “Et tu Brute” (even you Brutus) on his lips.

Today’s narrative of the passion and death of Christ presents some similarities between the murder of Caesar and that of Christ. Both were murdered by a group of conspirators and their murder were facilitated with the betrayal of their closest friends who ate and dinned with them. In the betrayal of Jesus, we see the greatest manifestation of the personality of Judas, the friend who betrayed Jesus and that is why today, we want to reflect on his treachery with a view not to condemn him the more but to find traces of him in our lives.

Unlike Brutus who wanted Caesar killed, Judas never wanted Jesus killed. Instead, he was interested in the money he would get if he assisted the Chief priests to arrest Jesus. Probably, seeing Jesus escape several times from the wrath of the Pharisees, he thought Jesus would have miraculously saved himself from death. The whole drama became clear to him only when Jesus was condemned to death. For the love of this same money, today, innocent people are harassed and killed, the truth is hidden, expired and substandard goods are sold in the market and our friendship with God is compromised. Each time we engage in things like these, we betray Christ as Judas did.

As much as the events of this great week celebrate God’s omnipotence in history, the Church also challenges us to make the mysteries of Christ’s passion our own. We are called to live above hypocrisy, greed and selfishness and then give our lives to the gospel. That is why the first reading presents us with the image of the suffering servant who learnt to obey through suffering and pain. He was glorified at the end because he maintained his friendship with God by being attentive and obedient to the voice of God.

Today, as disciples and friends of God, how faithful have we been to our primary commitments? In our family lives, how faithful have we been to the preservation of family life and morality? In the society, how faithful have we been in preserving the dignity and integrity of man? Do we betray God when we handle positions of trust and authority? 

We may be too quick to blame Judas who betrayed Jesus, Peter who denied him three times and the disciples who fled. But we may not be better than them. Betrayal is a kind of conspiracy against a person. It is an unimaginable and unexpected blow from a friend. Each time we use our authority to approve and legalize evil and immoral behaviour, then we betray God who is the giver of all authority. Each time we keep silent in the face of evil, especially when a harm is intended against another person, then we are denying Christ openly. Each time we avoid our duties towards God and man then we are like the disciples who ran away.

Beloved friends, as Christians, let us resolve this Holy Week to participate in reenacting the sacred mysteries of our salvation. In it lies our hope, our future and our destination. It may not be easy, but the moment we get less interested, we are actually betraying the God who died that we may live. Like St. Paul presents us in the second reading, let us imitate Christ who was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. It is never easy to obey for every act of obedience has a heavenly reward. Therefore, instead of betraying our friendship with Jesus, let us obey and solidify that friendship. God loves you.

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