Recently, a 48-year-old woman died. Accolades for her ring loudly.
More than 2,000 years ago, a 33-year-old man died. Accolades for Him will echo throughout all eternity.
Many tears were shed due to the woman’s early passing caused by her own reckless deeds.
Few tears were shed due to the Man’s early passing, caused not by His own reckless deeds, but as a purposeful sacrifice for our sins.
Attention to her work has quickly intensified. Songs are downloaded and movies are rented as everyone wants a small, temporary piece of her. The clamor for her will soon pass as she is replaced by the next idol of the public.
Attention to His work rose more slowly. His words in the Good Book are read, and His eternal, loving presence is cherished each time we gather to partake of the Eucharist. The clamor for Him will never pass, He can never be replaced, His impact will never fade.
The rich and famous claim friendship with her, and beg admittance to her funeral.
The rich and famous denied even knowing Him, and forced His real friends to stay away lest they too suffered His fate.
Her funeral will bring central Jersey to come to a standstill tomorrow. Flags will fly at half-mast, roads will be closed, and television cameras will mark every move.
His death and burial were little-noticed, except among his beloved. They cleaned and wrapped His body in simple cloth, and buried it in a borrowed tomb.
Mourn for the young woman. Her impact in her field came early, her end was tragic, her struggles to make a lasting contribution all in vain.
Rejoice for the young Man. His impact was immediate, His end, though also tragic, made His struggles noble and impact on us mortals endless.
As we begin the season of Lent next week, let’s get our priorities straight. Let us put aside the quest for the glitter and glamour of this life, of its celebrity, of its noise and shallow worship. Let us reflect upon the life of that one God-Man, and upon His death, and let it bring us to a quiet, deep contemplation of what His sacrifice gave to us: