There’s an old story of the boy who stood on a sidewalk, waiting on a bus. A man walking by spotted the boy, and gave him some gentle instruction. “Son,” he said, “if you’re waiting on the bus, you need to move to the street corner. That’s where the bus stops for passengers.”
“It’s OK,” said the boy. “I’ll just wait right here, and the bus will stop for me.” The man repeated his argument, but the boy never moved. Just then, the bus appeared. Amazingly, the bus pulled over to where the boy stood, and the child hopped on. The man on the sidewalk stood speechless. The boy turned around in the doorway and said, “Mister, I knew the bus would stop here, because the bus driver is my dad!”
When you’ve got a family relationship with the bus driver, you don’t need a bus stop. If your mother is a US Senator, you won’t need an appointment to slip into her office. If you’ve given your heart to the King of Kings, you’re in a royal family of unspeakable proportions.
Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as the long awaited king of Israel. In Matthew and Mark gospel the people call him Son of David, thus indicating he is a member of the royal family of King David but in Luke, whose gospel we heard, has the people proclaim: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” This King loved us to the end. We join all Christians around the world and celebrate the great mystery of Christ’s love for us. “Greater love no man has than he who lays down his life for his friends.” He took on himself our sins and the sins of all the world. He was pierced for our faults and crushed for our sins. He bore our sufferings and sorrows. It is through His wounds we are healed. Let us ask ourselves what kind of relationship we have with this King of Kings? This King gives us comfort and strength, saying “do not be afraid”, “I am with you always”.
The suffering of Jesus, which we recall in a special way today, has been a source of strength to countless people throughout history. As we look back over the suffering of Jesus, we see that he suffered in three different ways: mentally, physically and spiritually.
He suffered mentally: He experienced this kind of suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood just thinking about the ordeal that lay before him. Jesus also suffered mental anguish when his followers betrayed and deserted him.
All of us can relate to mental suffering. We’ve all experienced it. For example, a 15 – year old runaway was describing mental suffering when he said in an interview in Parade magazine: “I never had a real family. I never saw my real father. I’m always lonely… I feel like there must be something wrong with me… I must be bad. I feel like I don’t exist because nobody ever loved me.”
Young or old, in time of mental suffering, often the only comfort we have is the knowledge that Jesus suffered the same way before us and is now supporting us in our hour of trial.
Second, Jesus suffered physically. He was brutally beaten, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the a cross. Again, we can all relate to physical pain. We’ve all experienced it, some more than others. In time of physical suffering Jesus wants you to know that he is not far away from you but closer to you and suffers with you.
Finally, Jesus suffered spiritually: For example, as he hung helplessly on the cross, it seemed that even his Father had deserted him. He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Again, we can all relate to spiritual suffering. There have been times when all of us have felt abandoned by God. But instead of giving up, Jesus wants us to turn to God the Father just as he did on the cross.
Dear friends, when we find ourselves suffering in one of these ways (mentally, physically or spiritually or all of these ways, we should turn to Jesus. He knows how we feel, and he will not fail to strengthen us.
May you have a blessed Holy Week!