A distraught young couple called with me last week. They bought a modest house with a manageable mortgage some years ago. All went well until the husband was diagnosed with a serious illness.

Long story short, he could no longer work. She worked in a poorly-paid retail outlet, but she had to give that up to care for her husband and two children.

They fell behind in their payments. Despite the best efforts of friends and family, they lost their home.

They have secured rented accommodation for now, but are struggling to come to terms with the cross they are carrying.

It was a bitter blow when their home was sold last year. They understand that this is how commercial life works, but seeing an investor now getting an exorbitant rent for what was once their home cuts to the bone.

The Passion of Christ is not history; it happens to good people every day. People are still crucified.

We are living through the most important week in the Christian year.

Sadly, it hardly matters to the vast majority of believers, and is ignored by most under-50s.

A loving God who died to save us from our sins comes a poor second to holidays, fun and booze.

Sure, there will be a reasonable turn-out on Good Friday, though not from nearly as many people as in the past.

Good Friday was once a solemn day, when shops and places of entertainment closed. Many people who never attended church any other day of the year felt obliged to do so on Good Friday.

But with shops, pubs and supermarkets open, it is a day to eat, drink and be merry. For a believing Christian, nothing could be more inappropriate.

Saturday night, as we relive Jesus' resurrection from the dead, is the greatest event in the history of Christianity. There will be a few hundred people in the church.

It is, without doubt, the most holy night of the year for a Christian.

So, is it reasonable to conclude that much of our Christian life is a sham? Is it ignorance or apathy? Or are we living in a post-Christian era?

On one level, this week is about the events of 2,000 years ago. On another level, it reminds us of the best and worst of our lives.

We can see ourselves in the good and evil people in the Passion Story.

It’s not a story that glorifies suffering. On the contrary, it highlights God’s unconditional love for every single one of us.

Each of us is important enough in God’s eyes for God to die to save us from our sins.

I believe we can be too harsh when we judge the familiar characters in the Passion story, not realising we are the principles in the drama.

Judas is remembered for selling his friend for 30 pieces of silver. Judas backed a Messiah for what he had to offer regarding money, politics, and power.

He soon discovered that the Kingdom Jesus had established was for the poor, the powerless, and the suffering.

Judas knew he backed the wrong man; 30 pieces of silver were better than nothing.

Pilate was a shrewd politician. He asked good questions, such as what is truth?

He answered his own question – an obscure carpenter claiming to be God would soon be forgotten.

He washed his hands to hold on to his job. Who does that remind you of? Mirrors are effective when they reflect!

The High Priest was dedicated to religion more than he was to justice. He wasn’t the first, nor the last, to put the laws before mercy, and the institution's survival before the good of its people.

Onlookers who shouted “Crucify him” are like onlookers everywhere. When you are the flavour of the week, they are with you, and when you are in trouble, they will crucify you.

It’s sometimes said that Jesus was put to death by hate. He wasn’t.

He was put to death by everyday vices – self-interest, indifference, apathy, fear and half-truths. The vices each of us rationalise our way through every day.

Recognising how Holy Week is about God’s unconditional love for people like us and our everyday vices is challenging.

My favourite image for Holy Week is Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’, which the artist sculpted from a single block of marble when he was 23 years old, in 1498.

If you ever get a chance to admire it in Rome, you will be shocked by how limp the body of a broken Jesus is.

You will marvel at the beautiful eyes of a loving mother holding her dead son. That’s genuine faith. That’s real love.

Jesus Christ was not the first man to die for a cause; he won’t be the last. He was not the first, nor the last innocent man to be put to death.

He was not the only one who was crucified – there were two others crucified beside him. Many others suffered at least as much physical pain.

So we have to ask ourselves ,what makes His Passion different?

The Passion is striking for the shabby circumstances in which Christ died. His best friends let him down.

Yet to Judas, Jesus says: “Friend [note the word], why are you here? Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a Kiss?”

The Gospel tells the story in one line. “And they all forsook him and fled.” Just like us?

These were the people he lived with and loved. He taught them; they witnessed miracles, yet as far as we can see, none of them lifted a finger to help him.

However, there isn’t a part in the whole sordid mess that you and I wouldn’t find ourselves playing to perfection. There is a bit of Judas in all of us.

The truth of The Passion is that it was not his enemies, but his friends, who made Jesus suffer the most.

I hope you all have a joyous and happy Easter.