Today is Monday of Holy Week. As Christ continues his pilgrimage towards his passion and death on Good Friday, so we continue to accompany him upon that journey through daily meditations led by Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing. Today, Bishop Boyea ponders our response to the sacrificial love of Christ on the cross.
"Sisters and brothers, as we walk this path with the Lord, we know that he has set his face toward his own death for our sins. That love, however, needs to bear fruit in our lives," says Bishop Boyea, March 29.
"We can always try to put off until tomorrow a decision to follow Jesus. However, Jesus is letting us know that tomorrow may already be here. Will we bear fruit?" Here is the script of Bishop Boyea's full reflection for today:
Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we heard the third Suffering Servant Song from the Prophet Isaiah. Today, Monday of Holy Week, we go a bit backwards and hear the first song (Isaiah 42:1-7). This servant shall be spirit-filled and will seek to establish justice which will lead to his being a “light for the nations.” We are told that his behavior will be such that he will not shout, nor break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoldering wick. Rather, he shall open the eyes of the blind, bring forth prisoners, and lead out those who live in darkness.
This is the Jesus we have come to know and expect. Yet, on this Monday we are presented with another image. According to Matthew’s Gospel (21:18-22), on the morning after the Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus went back into the city and “he was hungry.” The text continues: “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again.’ And immediately the fig tree withered” (Matthew 21:19).
It would appear that this Suffering Servant will propose and not impose the will of the Father on us. However, at some point we must decide. Will we embrace our call and bear fruit or will we say, “No?” It was not enough for Jesus to be a light to the nations and to bring forth those who live in darkness. Those in such darkness must decide to come forth and share that light. And there is no time like Holy Week for this to happen. This is a time of crisis, of decision.
Sisters and brothers, as we walk this path with the Lord, we know that he has set his face toward his own death for our sins. That love, however, needs to bear fruit in our lives. We can always try to put off until tomorrow a decision to follow Jesus. However, Jesus is letting us know that tomorrow may already be here. Will we bear fruit?