All of us at Kampung Punggol have gone home for our quarter break this year which was specially arranged to coincide with Holy Week so that we would have the opportunity of celebrating these great days of Holy Week with the parish communities that had nurtured our vocations.
This morning, as I heard the long Passion Gospel being proclaimed, the following words caught my attention: “And they took the thirty silver pieces, the sum at which the precious One was priced by children of Israel”
And these words kind of stayed with me. Thirty silver pieces was the price of the “precious One” that was “priced by the children of Israel”. It got me asking myself, what is the “price of the precious One”?
I think in my own life, I am consciously and unconsciously placing a “price on the precious One”. As much as I would like to disassociate myself from those “children of Israel” who seemed to have placed a price on the “precious One”, I am forced to realise that I too inevitably put a price on him.
When I choose to pay instead of receive the price of the “thirty silver coins” in my life, I am saying to the world that Jesus is truly “the precious One” and “thirty silver coins” is incomparable with him. In that sense, I am placing the maximum value of “thirty silver coins” on the “world” instead and saying that all the lures of this world is only the value of that measly “thirty silver coins” which I am willing to forego. However, each time I am willing to throw Jesus out of my life for the “thirty silver coins” that are presented to me, I am placing the price of “thirty silver coins” on the “precious One” instead and as wrong a choice that seems, it is still so real in all our lives.
At the end of the day, either I am willing to place the value of the “thirty silver coins” on everything else other than Jesus and choose to follow Him or by turning away from him, I say that he is only worth “thirty silver coins”. The crux of the matter is that either way, there is price that must be placed. There is no escape. We cannot hide behind the illusion that we will not have to give a price to Christ and the world. We cannot hide from the reality that it is a price that we must each give a value to and no one else, not our parents or siblings or friends or someone else would be able to do for us. Sometimes, we hide from wanting to give a price because we are too afraid that in admitting that there is a price to be paid, we would have to face the truth of the cost it will have in a personal way to us. I believe Economics has a very interesting concept we can employ at this moment called, “Opportunity Cost”. The opportunity cost of Jesus is the “world” and the opportunity cost of the “world” is Jesus. Either way, we must face up to the fact that there is a cost to be paid and it is paid with much sacrifice. Whom shall we forego? The “precious One” or the “world”? What is the value of “thirty silver coins” in our life?
Only after coming to a realization of the price that must be decided on and the cost that must be paid can we even say what the apostles said in today’s Gospel, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” Indeed, following Christ shall cost us not only the world but our life. Only when we can forego life itself, will we be able to embrace Life. Indeed, “If Christ calls, it is to die.” Lelong! Lelong! Jesus for Sale! What is your bid?