Today we begin our celebration of the holiest of weeks, the one week out of 52 when we as Christians are called to live differently.
Today we begin the week with two gospels: the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the Passion, this year it's Matthew's passion.
Over the years I have always had a very difficult time reconciling the image of Jesus according to St. Matthew, and the one we always read on Good Friday, St. John.
In John, Jesus is in control from start to finish. He has a quick response to every remark. In Matthew, a key verse is 26:63
But Jesus remained silent.
Yes, I understand the Passover symbolism, the lamb led to slaughter,etc. But there was still something incongruous, until I realized I was making one fatal mistake. I was confusing silence with passivity.
Silence is anything but passive. Try it. Try to sit and remain silent. It takes incredible discipline. Even more, try and remain silent when you are being attacked. For most of us it is all but impossible.
In his silence Jesus may in fact be demonstrating more control in Matthew's version than John's, self-control.
The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that to everything there is a season. There are times when we need to defend ourselves as Jesus does in John's gospel. But there are also times when we need to remain silent, as in Matthew's gospel. True wisdom comes in discerning the proper time for each.
Beginning today, make this week different . Find time to go to Church for the Easter Triduum. Begin and end each day with prayer. Find a moment in the middle of the day to pause and pray. If you haven't been to confession yet, GO! 51 weeks of year are yours. This one belongs to God. Make it a truly Holy Week.