The true face of meekness
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

As we begin the Holy Week and are made to contemplate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, let’s take advantage of this liturgical celebration to re-appreciate the value of meekness by deepening our understanding of that virtue.

Many of us are afraid to play the role of a meek character in any situation. We often think meekness is a defeatist trait, a weakness and a clear evidence of powerlessness and helplessness.

Well, it’s the virtue that figures prominently in the passion and death of Christ that led to his resurrection. It’s the virtue that helped win for us our redemption. It’s not at all a trait of a defeated person who is weak, powerless, and helpless. On the contrary, it’s the trait of a strong and powerful victor.

In the first reading of Palm Sunday, for example, we are made to see how we just have to present ourselves to all kinds of suffering, following the example of the character highlighted in that reading and who obviously prefigures Christ.

“I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” (Is 50,6-7)

That’s the attitude to have in life. Let’s not be afraid of any kind of suffering. Relate all our suffering to the passion and death of Christ and everything will just be fine, will just possess great meaning and have a redemptive value.

Yes, suffering will always be suffering. That’s why in the responsorial psalm, we are reminded of what Christ said in this regard: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Just the same, Christ entrusted himself completely to the will of the Father who wants him to pay for the sins of men by offering his life. That’s how grave our sins are: they would require the God-made-man to repay for them.

Again in the second reading (Phil 2,6-11), we are reminded of the extent to which Christ went to save us. He emptied himself because being God, he became man to be with us, and he emptied himself further precisely by offering his life on the cross for our sins. Then we have the whole drama of the passion and death of Christ in the gospel.

We should never lose sight of the role of meekness in all this. Christ did not fight back, not because he was weak, powerless and helpless. He did not fight back because his passion and death is the ransom for our recovery and reconciliation with God. He just had to bear all our sins to save us!

We should never miss the opportunity to unite whatever suffering we have in this life with the passion and death of Christ. That way, all our suffering would share in the redemptive value of Christ’s passion and death.

No wonder that Christ made meekness one of the beatitudes promised to us. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt 5,5) It is a trait that helps identify us with Christ.

That is the true face of meekness. Authentic meekness is a very positive, constructive and redemptive quality. So, whenever we are insulted, misunderstood or mistreated, we should just bear it, never failing to unite all this to the suffering of Christ.

Whenever we are harmed in any way or treated unfairly, we may have to seek redress but always with charity, never with bitter zeal. To be truly meek is also about always thinking well of the others and loving them truly, even if they are not nice to us, or are offensive to us.

HOLY WEEK
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