Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases from Matthew’s Passion: you will have your faith in me shaken, mine will never be, all the disciples left him and fled, false testimony, Jesus was silent, gave up his spirit
To the point: Jesus warns the disciples at the Last Supper that their faith would be shaken, but the disciples deny that this will ever happen. Nonetheless, faith is greatly threatened when there is great cost, and we instinctively protect ourselves: the disciples flee; the Jewish leaders are adamant about destroying Jesus. Jesus alone remains unshaken in his faith: in the Garden he says yes to his Father’s will, he is silent before his accusers’ false accusations, he willingly gives up his spirit on the cross. Instead of protecting himself, Jesus embraces the cost of his suffering and death—the great sign of his own faithfulness. An even greater sign is yet to come.Connecting the Gospel …
… to First Reading: The selection from the third Suffering Servant song in Isaiah poignantly underscores Jesus’ conscious and active choice to remain faithful to his saving mission no matter what the cost: “I have not ... turned back” and “I gave my back to those who beat me.”
… to experience: The more something costs us, the greater the demand on our resources and personal commitment. The cost of our salvation was Jesus’ very life; he did not shy away from the demands or cost or personal commitment. And remains even now so committed to us.