Lenten Reflections: Holy Week

holy week

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On many Passion Sundays, I have spent time with my family watching Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus of Nazareth, or The Passion. The Gospel reading for this Sunday also tries to lure us in so that it is an experience and not just a story. At Mass, we are mystically present at those first events of the Lord’s Passion. The cross is the bridge between those events, our life today, and the future of paradise. Be sure to enter into the story today. Don’t take the day for granted.

What can I do today to allow myself to enter into the story? How can I place myself at the foot of the cross?

This week is holy. All days spent as disciples of Jesus are holy, but this week is extra special. However, how many Holy Weeks in the past have really been special in your life? The world around us seems not to notice that things are different. The pace of life does not change. We can either be led by the world or led by our relationship with Jesus. He calls us to make this week special. In this Holy Week, we are called to be holy as well.

What are my plans for this week that the Church calls holy?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him three times. Peter cannot believe this prediction and assures Jesus that he will never deny him. Jesus knows Peter’s weaknesses, and he knows our weaknesses as well. Those who are without ailment have no need for a doctor. Jesus came to bring healing and mercy to sinners. Peter will deny Jesus, not because he does not love Jesus, but because ultimately he cannot be strong without him.

Where do I need the strength of Jesus most in my life?

The disciples prepared to eat the Passover meal with Jesus. At the meal, he broke bread with those he loved. One present would deny him and another would betray him. Do you think he loved any of them less? Did he come not only for those who would stay faithful but also for those who would turn away? His sacrifice was for all of humanity. It is our choice if we accept the grace and eternal life he offers to all.

If I place myself at that Passover meal, what am I thinking about Jesus’s words?Is there a disciple I relate to more than others?

Today we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. We wash feet as we reflect on stewardship and our call to be servants of all. The oils to be used in initiation and healing sacraments throughout the year are prepared and blessed by the bishop. This day we stand in awe of what our God has done for us. The Church has been given all the help it needs to boldly proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. You and I are just single members of a larger body, but our contributions are needed for the Body of Christ to be most effective. Christ truly has no body of earth but ours.

What does it mean to me that I am Christ to a world in need of embracing him?

It can strike us as odd that on this day when we observe the death of Jesus Christ that we call it “good.” However, what more can one give to another than their very life. On this day, Jesus laid down his life for his friends: you and me. His suffering can cause us to shed tears and feel anguish. We can wish there was some other path for our salvation. But there is no denying the truth about what this day really means for us. It surely is good.

What will I do special today for my observance of Good Friday?

The time has finally arrived! Tonight in churches all over the world, people will die and rise with Christ in baptism. We will walk in the darkness carrying candles, and we hear again the stories of our faith. These are the stories that tell us of how God has led us and continues to lead us from darkness into light. We stand renewed in our faith and ready for a glorious Easter season. May the light of Christ lead us always and may we never fear the dark.

How can I let my light shine to all those around me?

Jesus is alive! Our Lenten season has drawn to a close, and this day we stand as an Easter people. We are called to bear witness to the empty tomb and the crucified Jesus that lives but still bears the wounds of his love for us. We must be bold in our witness, clear in our purpose, and intentional in our actions. Easter is not just a day. It is our call to action. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Lent is over. Easter is here. Now what? The next move is yours, good steward.

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