Is humiliation or betrayal more painful



St. Peter's Square
Wednesday April 16, 2014



Dear brothers and sisters,
good day!

Today, in the middle of Holy Week, the liturgy brings us a sad episode: the account of the betrayal of Judas, who goes to the chief priests to haggle and hand over his Master to them: "What will you give me if I?" deliver you Jesus? ”Jesus has a price at that moment. This dramatic event marks the beginning of Christ's suffering, a painful path that he chooses with absolute freedom.

He himself says very clearly: »I give my life ... Nobody snatches it from me, but I give it out of my own free will. I have power to give it and I have power to take it again ”(cf. Joh 10.17-18). And so with this betrayal begins the path of humiliation, of the emptying of Jesus. As if it were on the market: It costs 30 pieces of silver ... After Jesus has taken the path of humiliation and alienation once, he goes it to the end. Jesus finally experiences complete humiliation through "death on the cross". It is the worst death; it was reserved for slaves and felons. Jesus was considered a prophet, but dies like a felon.

When we look at Jesus in his suffering, we see, as it were, in a mirror the sufferings of humanity and find the divine answer to the mystery of evil, pain and death. Often times, we feel horror at the evil and suffering that surrounds us, and we ask ourselves, "Why does God allow this?" It is a deep wound for us to see suffering and death, especially when it affects the innocent ! When we see children suffering, it is a wound of the heart: it is the secret of evil. And Jesus takes on all this evil, all this suffering. During this week it will be good for all of us to look at the crucified, kiss the wounds of Jesus, kiss them on the crucified. He took on all human suffering, he clothed himself with this suffering.

We expect that God in his omnipotence overcomes injustice, evil, sin and suffering with a triumphant divine victory. God, on the other hand, shows us a humble victory that, from a human point of view, appears to be failure. We can say that God wins in failure! Because the Son of God appears on the cross as a defeated person: he suffers, he is betrayed, he is mocked, and in the end he dies. But Jesus allows evil to fall upon him, and he takes it upon himself to defeat it. His suffering is not an accident; his death - that very death - was "written". In fact, we don't find many explanations. It is a moving mystery, the mystery of God's great humility: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son" (Joh 3.16). This week let's think a lot about the pain of Jesus and say to ourselves: This is for me. Even if I had been the only person in the world, he would have. He did it for me. Let us kiss the crucified one and say: for me, thank Jesus, for me.

When all seems lost, when there is no one left - for they will "slay the shepherds, then the sheep of the flock will be scattered" (Mt 26:31) - then God intervenes with the power of resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is not the happy ending of a beautiful fairy tale, it is not the "happy ending" of a film, but it is the intervention of God the Father - where human hope is broken.

The moment when everything seems lost, the moment of pain, when many people feel the need to descend from the cross, is the moment when the resurrection is closest. The night is darkest before dawn, before the light begins. In the darkest moment, God intervenes and brings to life.

Jesus chose to walk this path and he calls us to follow him on the same path of humiliation. When at certain moments in life we ​​cannot find a way out of our difficulties, when we sink into the deepest darkness, that is the moment of our humiliation and total emptying, the hour when we learn that we are weak and sinners. And just then, at this moment, we must not hide our failure behind a mask, but must trustfully open ourselves to hope in God, as Jesus did. Dear brothers and sisters, this week it will do us good to take a cross in hand, to kiss it again and again and to say: thank you, Jesus, thank you, Lord. So be it.

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I say a warm welcome to all pilgrims and visitors to the German language, especially the numerous young people and schoolchildren. We want to prepare for Easter by opening our hearts to Jesus, asking forgiveness for our mistakes and trusting us in his guidance. I pray to you and your families for the blessings and grace of the Lord. Happy Easter!