Lent: What if?


As we move into Lent, the Church draws us inexorably towards Jesus’ last days. It is a solemn  journey.

I used to see the passion as  dramatic crime involving evil plotting against an innocent man. Pharisees, Sadducees, Judas,  Pilate, Herod, a hysterical crowd, they were all villains.

There were a few goodies amongst the baddies – for example, the small group that stood at the foot of the cross –  but most of Jesus’ friends had deserted him.

Generally, the odds were heavily against Jesus who said nothing to save himself.

I didn’t understand why Jesus didn’t act in his own defence. He could work miracles. Why did he just let it all happen?

I guess a lot of Christian children have the same question.

Then I grew into the shape of my life and was able to look at options. I wondered, What if?

Suppose Judas had not betrayed Jesus.

Suppose the religious leaders decided Jesus wasn’t an enemy after all, but some  prophet come from God.

Maybe they would have sung his praises and invited him to their tables as a cherished friend!

And suppose the crowd didn’t shout, “Crucify him.”

Instead  they went on singing hosanna, praising him for his goodness.

He  could have continued his ministry of preaching and healing until he died a quiet natural death.

What if  the crucifixion had not occurred?

Considering this,  I knew what happened had to happen.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

When taken to prayer, that statement opens into explanation.

The Way  of living on this planet is not easy.

We all have to deal with pot holes and rough patches.

It helps to know that Jesus lived our share of hard travel to remind us that a rough road is the Way of growth through resurrection..

He chose the worst exit life could offer, and for those who killed him, he  prayed. “Father, forgive them. They kmow not what they do.”

He is Truth, and being Truth he understood that ministry is not about pleasing people.

Forget the hosannas. They are not important.

Truth in ministry is more about actions than words. Truth offers the gift of being real.

And the Life? He had to surrender the life of one man so that he could become Life for all, Jesus son of Mary, resurrected as the living Cosmic Christ.

If the Passion had not happened, would we have his life in us?

It is still hard to listen to the reading of the Passion. But it can no longer be an account of  a band of thugs and an innocent man.

The whole story is about a love so big, it cannot be measured.  It spans all of human existence, and  all time.

Which means that every character in the saga of the Passion, was an instrument of God.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.


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