By Dr. M.S.Alexander, England
What does passion week mean to us? Is it just
an annual remembrance of the passion- the pain and suffering, crucifixion,
death, and resurrection of our Lord- for all of us?
In Malayalam (a language in India) this week is
called "Kastanubhava week" meaning a week to experience passion, and not simply
remembering the Passion, as beautifully illustrated in the recent film-Passion of the Christ. How do we do this?
During the Last Supper Jesus said that He is giving up His
body and blood for us and he did this for us as He promised. He commanded
that in turn we too should do this in His memory. Out of the 12 apostles, I
understand that 11 gave up their life (martyrdom) in their work for our Lord.
What are we doing? Some of us observe lent giving up meat, or fish, or both for
fifty days of lent. We spent more time in lip service prayer. Is that enough?
In one of the special prayers of lent we say that prayer is good, but if any one
says the prayer with out love it has no effect. Lent is good, but if any one
observe the lent without love it has no effect.
Jesus taught us that the ultimate love is to love the enemies. He showed us how to do this from the cross
when He prayed for those who insulted him and punished Him. Late Pampady
Thirumeny (a saintly Bishop of Indian Orthodox Church) had a picture of crucifixion in his chapel, and used to look at that
picture for hours in meditation, and he practiced what he learned from the cross
not only in Passion Week, but in every day of his life. Do we learn anything
from the cross and practice what we learn?
Jesus illustrated how love is
manifested in action- Matthew 25-35,"I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I
was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, and you
invited me in, I was in need of clothes and you gave me clothes, I was sick and
you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." It is time for
us to practice what we learn from the cross, SURRENDER ourselves saying not as
I will, but as You will, not only for Passion Week, but for the whole life and
follow the cross to win the Kingdom of Heaven.