Each year in my 2nd grade Sunday school class we retell the story of Jesus’ passion, from Palm Sunday to Easter morning. The question 7 and 8 year olds inevitably ask is why anyone would want to kill Jesus. They want to know what people thought Jesus did wrong, why he was punished so harshly.
Jesus answers the question in today’s reading when says that “the Father is in me and I am in the Father”. At the most essential level, Jesus was killed because he loved like God loves. He did not exclude, judge, or punish. The danger of inclusive love is something second graders understand well, especially as they begin to navigate the murky waters of peer pressure.
As adults, the pressures to exclude, judge or punish don’t subside, but take on new layers of complexity. In what areas of your life do you struggle to love like God does – inclusively, without judgment or prejudice?
—Mark Bartholet is the Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation at St. Peter Catholic Church, a Jesuit-staffed parish in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also a graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.