Pope Benedict XVI, celebrating the Mass at the Vatican today:
"From the beginning men and women have been filled -- and this is as true today as ever -- with a desire to 'be like God', to attain the heights of God by their own powers," he said, wearing resplendent red and gold vestments.
"Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful," he said.
While the great advances of technology have improved life for man, the pope said, they have also increased possibilities for evil, and recent natural disasters were a reminder, if any were needed, that mankind is not all-powerful.[Matthew] tells us in verse 10, "When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?'" I know I've read this verse countless times over the years. But as I read this verse this week, the question struck me in a new way.
"Who is this?" is a question that we have to ask ourselves. Who is Jesus? The skeptics will say, just another person, nobody special. The faithful will say, "The Son of God." If you were to ask 10 different people, it's likely that you would get 10 different responses. There might be some common themes, but it's likely that the responses would run the theological gamut.
"Who is Jesus?" Have you ever answered that for yourself? For some, he may be Savior. For some, he may be Lord. For some, he may be friend. To others, he maybe one of many spiritual leaders. Matthew is making it clear that Jesus is unique.
As Lent concludes this year, many might not be asking "Who is Jesus?" but, "Where is Jesus?" On March 11, when the largest jolt of energy since 1964 to move the earth hit Japan, some asked, "Where was Jesus?"
In February, a longtime friend of mine had a heart attack at age 46, while driving down a highway. In June, he was to graduate with his second master's degree. After several days of being in a coma, he died. I asked, "Where was Jesus?"
I trust you, too, might have an occasion to ask, "Where is Jesus?" this Lent. While I pray you find that answer at the place you worship, for some of us it will be in the quietness of our time alone with Jesus. It might be as we search the Bible for those places that we have read over and over again, yet lead us in a new direction, closer to Jesus, this Palm Sunday.First, you don't need to go looking for your cross. Life gives them to you. Whether it's an illness or a tough family relationship or trouble in school or problems on the job. The real cross is the one that you don't want.
Because it's hardly a cross if you want it.
Just like it was for Jesus.
Second, we are asked by Jesus to accept our crosses.
Now, what does that mean? Well, first it means accepting that suffering is a reality in your life, and being honest about it. Perhaps more importantly, it means not passing along the bitterness that you feel. That doesn't mean that when you're with friends or family members or counselors, you can't talk about it or complain about it or even cry about it. That's both healthy and natural.
But it does mean that if you're angry about your boss or about school or about your family, you don't pass along that anger or bitterness or meanness to others. If you have a lousy boss, does that mean that you should be mean to your family? If you have a difficult family situation, does that mean that you should be angry with your coworkers? If you are having problems at school, does that mean that you should be cruel to your family?