“So from that day on they planned to kill him” (John 11: 53).
I have failed. I have betrayed my Lenten promises. I have neglected to follow through on carefully made plans. I have run from challenges rather than toward them. I have claimed to love you, but instead, I turn to distractions rather than prayer.
The priest walked up to the ambo to preach his Good Friday homily after having read the passion as a congregation. He looked up and said: “We all feel extremely uncomfortable when chanting ‘Crucify him, crucify him. Yet this is exactly what we do each time we sin.” He then walked back to his chair in the deafening silence.
Jesus reminds us in the Gospels that when we feel despised, we must remember that he was hated first. From even the moments before Christ’s birth, he was hated. After his birth, he was sought after to be murdered by Herod. People laughed at him and abandoned him. One man betrayed him, all men lent a hand.
Lord, I am not worthy.
Jesus carried the weight of the world in the form of a cross on his shoulders. He didn’t arrive to hear adulation when he reached the finish line. Rather, his prize was death on that same cross, and we, the people who put him there, are receiving the gift of the destruction of sin and the hope of eternal life with the man we killed.
Lord, I am not worthy.
Christ was certainly not a failure. He won. And by falling into sin, we are not failures. As Chris Stefanick would say, we mustn’t mistake one bad chapter for an entire book. We are made anew each day. We are made anew each hour. We are made anew each minute. But only if we choose to be. We move on from the sin of despair or presumption, and we build our hope minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. The hope that one day we may be forever with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, to which I repeat:
Lord, I am not worthy. But enter under my roof, and my soul shall be healed.
Benjamin serves as the Music Minister at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Branchville, NJ. He teaches Children’s Theatre at the Paper Mill Playhouse and is a Catholic songwriter that has given talks on Confirmation, How to Keep the Faith in College, and The Courage to Choose Life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.