Exactly a year ago, the following article was posted on this blog . It’s still relevant for this year’s observance of the Holy Week.
The comment of Charmaine “Sherry” Sorono on one of my Ezine articles has inspired me to start a series of Lenten reflections. Lent is traditionally observed as preparation of the believer for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.
Considered as one of the major liturgical seasons of the Roman Catholic Church, Lent is celebrated by other Christian denominations including Protestant groups like the Lutheran, Methodist,Presbyterian and Anglican. Lent, particularly the Holy Week, is one of the two most celebrated events in the Christian calendar.
The other one is Christmas. Results of survey may vary as to the perception of people on the most important between the two celebrations. Undeniably, however, these two events dominated the thoughts of believers in Christendom to the extent that the totality of the life of Jesus has been ignored.
It’s unfortunate that Christians have become selective in remembering the life of Jesus. The other aspects of Jesus life are seemingly neglected, especially his manhood. Some sociologists and theologians view this as manifestation of cultural distortion or vested interests. We love to think of the baby Jesus and Crucified Christ.
Their images evoke compassion. More importantly, less threatening as they reflect innocence and helplessness. But we are uncomfortable of the adult Jesus who confronts everyone without fear or favor, even turning the tables of those who make business out of religion. It seems, we want to evade the Jesus who challenges us to follow his example in service
Oftentimes, the period in between birth and death have been neglected- his growth, manhood, the fight against harsh realities in life which could have been a model for living. How he withstood trials and temptations. How he did not give in to the pressures and enticement of power compromise and pleasures of the world. His willingness to offer himself for a great cause.
From conception, he had a foretaste of the cruel world system. The intrigues his earthly family encountered due to the controversial pregnancy prior to marriage. At birth, he was exposed to vulnerable condition of the poorest of the poor, being born in a manger. His childhood experience was colored with the uncertain life of refugees to escape the persecution. Likewise, he had to adjust to the internal struggle in family relationship, as well as the immediate social environment as he kept up the ideal living, even going against the norms.
Prior to his public ministry, Jesus underwent the process of immersion. Living in a depressed community, he saw the hypocrisy of leaders in the socio-cultural, economic and political structures. Their wanton disregard of the avowed mission to serve the people as ordained by God. How corruption and abuse of power had encroached the ideal immunity of the religious establishment. How religion was used for business and profit. Yes, he witnessed how leaders enriched themselves at the expense of the people they were supposed to develop.
Jesus also knew the struggle of well meaning people in the government and other sectors including revolutionary forces in effecting change. Their two pronged vulnerabilities- stereotype from victims and antagonism from the mainstream perpetrators. Aware of their conviction, he included some of them in the core of his disciples, mainly composed of representatives from the basic masses.
(to be continued)