The word, “passion” has it’s roots in Latin and means to feel deeply, as in the gut or in the bowel (what today we might call the heart). The word “passion” could refer to either pleasure or pain.
We refer to the final week or so of the life of Jesus of Nazareth as the Passion. All those events associated with his trial, torture, crucifixion and death. Describing these events is the main purpose, or so it would seem, of the Gospels. The bulk of the Gospels is dedicated to the final week of the life of Jesus Christ.
In a sermon during the past year, as I was trying to explain one of the healing stories, I said that the Passion of Jesus Christ is not just the final week of his life. His whole ministry seems to be governed by his Passion for everything God created. I said at that time that we can draw whatever we want from the healing stories but they seem, at least on some level, to be simply motivated by his Passion for life.
Now that it is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week—and as we walk with Jesus of Nazareth through his Passion, I wonder if the idea of seeing his whole life as his Passion holds up.
Who amongst us wouldn’t, if we could be like Jesus and do as he did: speak truth to power, raise up the down trodden and heal all who are ill?
No one needs another savior. What God did in raising Jesus is accomplished—it is good for all of time. And we don’t need to martyr ourselves. What we need is to act, as best as we can, with the same passion for the created order as Jesus did.
That’s why community efforts like the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is so important. It gives people (individuals, governments, corporations, faith groups, everyone) a way of making real change and provide an avenue for the expression of our collective Passion.