As we begin Holy Week we focus our attention on Our Lord’s suffering and death. Now, it’s entirely possible for us to relate to these events simply as onlookers, but we know that we are more than that. Each of us is personally involved in the events of this Great Week since everything Jesus suffered was for our sake.
The first reading is one of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant that appear in the Book of Isaiah. While the servant’s identity is unknown, Christians have always seen in him a foreshadowing of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The mission, even the very character of this servant, can give us so many insights into who Jesus is and why he suffered and died for us.
Key to the servant’s mission is the call to bring justice to the world. Now we can imagine this kind of justice as focusing on revenge, anger, and violence – a kind of vigilante justice. But that’s not the justice of God. God’s justice combines tenacity and strength with gentleness and compassion. It’s focused on caring for the weakest and the most hurting among us. God is concerned not so much with holding each of us to account for every fault, as he is with restoring to all of creation what was lost through sin. So in God’s justice, we are the prisoners who are set free; we are the blind whose eyes are opened; we are the poor hearing the good news. And all because God has freed us from the bonds of sin.