Yesterday, we celebrated Good Friday, the day that Our Lord died on the Cross for our salvation. Today is Holy Saturday, a day spent in silence, mourning the loss of Jesus as for an only son, as the prophet Zechariah tells us (Zechariah 12:10). What is helpful for us to contemplate as we wait for Easter is not only the love Jesus showed for us in what He suffered, but His humility. As we gaze upon Our Lord and King crucified like a common criminal, and then taken down and laid in a tomb, we are struck with the fact that this is how God chose to save the world. He could have waved His hand and done it without bloodshed, or accepted the drops of blood from Jesus’s circumcision or the scourging. Instead, Jesus was crucified and died on a cross, choosing to renounce His equality with God and humble Himself to be treated with contempt and scorned. His humility is something for us to look at and reflect on where we are in our lives in regard to this virtue.
When we look at all that happened to Jesus during His Passion, we realize that love and humility were the only things that drove Him to accept such injustice. And since He loved us so much so as to humble Himself to such an extent, what other response can we have but to reciprocate that love and humility? And yet, we often find ourselves hurt too easily by others and overcome with a desire for revenge. But we should remember the words of St. Bernard, “What, shall my Master and my King be insulted and spat upon by His vilest subjects, and shall I be honored, who have deserved for my sins to be cast with the refuse of the human race to the bottom of the hill?” Our God chose to be considered the lowest of the low, to become a worm and no man, and yet we who truly deserve the punishment He got, want to be honored and get upset when our reputation is called into question? A popular passage in Scripture is Philippians 2: 6-11, which reads in part: “Who, though He (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped at, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” However, what’s often left out is the verse before it: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (v.5). We are called to have the same mindset as Jesus. We are to empty ourselves for the service of God and others and humble ourselves just as Jesus humbled Himself to be spat upon, mocked, scourged, and crucified. As if that was not enough, He also laid dead in a tomb for three days and nights although He was God.
As we examine our lives in light of the treatment Jesus received and willingly submitted to, we can begin to see some of the places we’ve failed to take on the humble mindset of Jesus. We can look at the situations in our lives and evaluate where we can improve and who we might need to adjust our attitude toward. Maybe there is a project at work or school where God wants us to take a step back and not be so demanding or controlling in our role. Maybe this applies to our family life as well. We need to take a look at Jesus and how He humbled Himself for love of us and ask Him to help us do the same thing in our lives for love of Him.
Good Friday and Holy Saturday give us an opportunity to look at Jesus, humbled to the point of crucifixion, death, and burial in a tomb, and ask ourselves whether we are taking on the same mindset as St. Paul commands us to in his letter to the Philippians. Jesus is Our Lord, Savior, and God Who knew no sin and yet He was treated like a criminal for our salvation. Why should we, as sinful and wretched as we are, be treated as if we are better than He, deserving to be honored and put on a pedestal by others? This time of year gives us the perfect opportunity to check ourselves and ask for His mercy. Lord Jesus, crucified and buried for our salvation, have mercy on us!