Much of what Jesus taught is captured in how he lived out Holy Week or the days leading up to his crucifixion on Good Friday. It was a series of events that was the ultimate demonstration of living the Way in service, forgiveness, and self-emptying. There is more but, you get the idea - Jesus was and is the way and he showed us how to live. This means that there are not only lessons, but expectations for his followers packed into the week leading up to Easter and the rest of his life. Jesus was also really clear on the expectations when he said things like: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" or "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.". The other similar directives he gave us, the parables he told, and the stories of him go on and on. They all point to the way.
Obviously, these things aren't true for everyone. But, how many of these things could just as easily be said of Christians? We already know that much of society has lost its way because Christians talk about it all the time. We say that God has been taken out of the schools and government, etc. We say that society is declining. But, the truth is that many of today's Christians live largely the same lives as the rest of world. We are not often distinctive in the way we live... not really. Certainly not like those early believers. In fact, It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish believers from non-believers.
Along with our worship, the days leading up to Easter provide a great opportunity to reflect on a life well lived; the life of Christ who modeled the Way and is the Way. This week doesn't need to serve as a measuring stick where we judge ourselves on whether we can live up to the unattainable. We all fall short and understand that we will continue to do so. But, certainly we should challenge ourselves in some manner to be different than the world around us and more like the Christ we follow. Jesus Christ's service, forgiveness, self-emptying and love of enemy offer an excellent place to begin. Let us all pray that, by living the Gospel, we can be seen as a beacon to the world that a different way is possible. Let us encourage others to be different than those around them... but, only by first doing so ourselves. Peace.