It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (Jn 13,1).
This initial phrase introduces the whole Passion and Death of Jesus.
Jesus´ time has arrived, and he comes to it consciously, not led by circumstances but with all the consequences. HIS GOAL IS TO SHOW UNCONDITIONAL LOVE; that is the kind of love to which we aspire in our relationships with others, no matter their nature
This unconditional love which we call “authentic love” is what he has been working throughout his life and that’s why the end is just the culmination of an experience in which one may not separate the experienced love from the expressed love. Pause for a moment: do not keep reading, stop for a while because this is the key to authentic love. If we do not experience love we will never know what it is to love unconditionally!
Jesus does not base his commitment upon the love he experiences on the part of his followers or those to whom he gives back their human dignity through forgiveness, healing, liberation in a word …
I DO NOT GO AHEAD BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME AND YOU UNDERSTAND ME
I DO NOT GO AHEAD BECAUSE YOUR RESPONSE IS WORTH MY SUFFERING
I DO NOT GO AHEAD BECAUSE I’M SURE I’LL COME OUT VICTORIOUS
Experienced love is what sustains me and makes me capable of loving with everything and in spite of everything.
Once the Supper is over the description of places and different scenes are in constant movement: Jesus himself is moved from one place to another, from one power to another: from washing one’s hands to shedding innocent blood, torturing one who only does good, killing to end once and for all with the possibility of insurrection, the denunciation of their falsehood.
One thing is what is happening “out there”, and another thing is that Jesus lives in and from out of his heart. Our goal is to enter into his soul to understand his feelings and also to understand ours.
Jesus had listened to God until the end. After the prayer in the Garden of Olives, God is silent, his opponents lead him away, and Jesus barely speaks. Why this deep silence, my God? I have listened to you so many times and I have done everything possible to follow the path you marked for me. Where are you now, in this dark night? Why do you become one with the darkness? My God, do you not see my suffering, my pain? Why don´t you answer my plea?
“Shema”: listen Israel, it is the most important prayer of the people which calls for the recognition and love of the one true God. That God who has always walked with his people in fidelity and love, who boasts of seeing, hearing, feeling the suffering of people; why he does not answer, why he does not claim his son in this moment of anguish, suffering and abandonment of all?
Listening to God when the noise of vested interests, fear, betrayal and omission of friends and enemies is very strong, is an almost impossible mission. Why don’t you disappear now from among those who want to kill you and leave as you did other times?
The attitude of Jesus puts us in contact with people who in similar circumstances of death danger have remained faithful to that listening. At that moment they may not hear anything, but they “know” what they have to do because this moment is only the outcome of a trajectory.
From the arrest of Jesus, poverty translates into a dispossession, first of his own will: he is brought back and forth, and he makes sure that no one else is involved in the process.
To be stripped of your own criteria, of the possibility of defending yourself, is to remain in the most absolute misery.
Jesus is abandoned by his friends, followers … at most He is followed from far, by those crying in hiding; he is without witnesses, without defense.
He is the target of all kinds of insults, humiliations, mockery, torture, experiencing physical, moral, emotional, psychological pain …
Even the dispossession of his clothes is a symbol of the desire to take away his dignity as a person.
Poverty is not an austere lifestyle or not having my own money or my own goods for others to administer for me. If poverty is service to others through my whole person, it does not put the emphasis on the monetary nor on the goods which I may possess; poverty consists of what I do with that which I have, and, in who I am.
Jesus therefore arrives to the cross almost without strength and there he makes the last gesture, leaving himself to be nailed to the wood with his arms outstretched and his gaze, mind and heart centered on Abba.
It represents that double dimension of every human being: transcendence and immanence at the same time: the search for God, for meaning, for consolation amidst abandonment and a gesture of total openness, right up to the end, to everyone and everything.
We cannot understand one without the other.
That fidelity to God until the end, is translated into a fidelity to everyone to the extreme, until we cannot give anything else.
Jesus does not liberate us in that moment of the end; he has been liberating us throughout his whole life with his gestures, his options and this is the culmination thereof.
Unconditional love liberates!