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Message of love

Ryan Gilkes

Message of love

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Jesus’ crucifixion?holds many lessons for Christian society, chief among them the need to be compassionate and to love.
So said Rector of St Stephen’s Anglican Church Reverend George Harewood in a Palm Sunday homily that recounted the actions of two women – Veronica and the wife of Pontius Pilate – and analyzed the role they played in Christ’s death.
Veronica was a woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus carried his cross, gave him her veil to wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering and after using it handed it back to her.
“She has compassion on Jesus . . . . [She] chose to show love and compassion, even if it could have brought [her] some pain. Jesus welcomed that very bold and courageous act,” Harewood said yesterday.
“We are therefore asked to be very compassionate to those who suffer. The human response is sometimes to say that that is the suffering person’s just reward, that they have received some form of retribution. Those persons who would want to show a more ‘intimate’ knowledge of the sufferer would say, ‘The poor soul, I knew ever since that he would have had to suffer for all the sins of his father . . . His children may have to suffer as well.’
“For the Christian, this should never be the resolve,” he admonished, adding that Christians should show compassion even where they believed suffering to be retribution.
The cleric, in retelling the Palm Sunday story, noted that Jesus’ return to Jerusalem would not have been a happy experience for the Jewish religious community. He said the leaders would have wanted to see Jesus sentenced for “blasphemy”.
“Pontius Pilate’s wife, some have suggested, used to send one of her maids to listen to the teachings of Jesus and report back to her on the miracles that he performed,” he said.  
He noted that through her counsel, Pilate’s wife would have provided Jesus with the possibility of a fair trial and her husband with advice to save him from great peril.
“We all sing on Good Friday seven times he spoke seven words of love. Having passed through this Lenten season, we do well to be like the women in the Passion of Our Lord, ready to give counsel so that justice will be done,” Harewood added.
“The nature of the father is Love. Let us not think only of the justice of God [because] sometimes we may not be able to find any support for it in the Bible.
“Let us think of God as love and that He loves us. Remember, He could not wait for us to become good and virtuous people. He sent His son to save us while we were yet sinners,” Harewood said. (ROG)