I have found that “Passion” is a word that is used too much and understood too little.
Passion can mean a sort of steamy romance that helps sell Harlequinnovels or TV soap operas. It can refer to the thing you feel most strongly about in life, with near constant appeals for us each to “follow our passions.” Or it can stand for the suffering death of Jesus at the hands of both religious and political leaders and their followers, as it does in reference to these chapters of Luke’s gospel.
While I look forward to Palm Sunday and the re-telling of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, I also have come to appreciate the tradition of telling the entire Passion Story a week out from Easter. It is the entry point into what will be the culmination of the Lenten journey, and it feels important to keep it more or less intact. Hardly the stuff of soap operas and cheap romance novels, while at the same time more real than the earnest (and at times selfish) pursuit of our own dreams, Jesus’ enters into his passion willingly and for the sake of the world. He knows where this is leading, and he follows anyway.
Let us pray. Lord, be our consolation, remind us of your passion, and give us the faith to remain faithful, alive, and unmoved in your love. Amen.