Updated: Jul 28
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the beginning of the liturgy for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, we will be greeted by these words:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts
by penance and charitable works. Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church
the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery, that is to say, of his Passion
How will you feel when you hear those words? Perhaps it might be tempting to go right in to evaluation mode -- and perhaps get a little too distracted with either celebrating how well we did this Lent, by which we might indulge our sinful pride -- or on the other hand we might ruminate on how we have fallen short of the expectations or goals that we set for ourselves in terms of engaging the spiritual discipline of this sacred season. But let’s not do that. Let’s not focus on how well, or not so well, we prepared for what’s ahead. Instead, let’s open our hearts to whatever Christ is preparing for
us as we plunge with him into passion, death and resurrection.
I have found real encouragement in the readings we heard this past Sunday, and they’ve helped me to focus on the days ahead. Through the Prophet Isaiah, God said:
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.
Through Saint Paul to the Philippians:
I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
And in the Gospel, when addressing the woman caught in adultery, Jesus did not condemn or
shame her, but rather, he said “Go, and sin no more.”
Perhaps these words might help us to refocus our minds and intentions as we enter into the drama of
this most holiest of weeks:
Remember not the events of the past.
Forget what lies behind, strain forward, pursue the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling.
GO, And sin no more.
The Gospel this Monday places us in the home of Jesus’s friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. We are told that Mary “took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” Holding nothing back, but pouring unto the last drop what was perhaps most valuable to her, Mary performed an extravagant act of love and reverence for Christ. Perhaps we might follow her example. As we follow Jesus into Jerusalem, into the upper room, into the Garden of Gethsemane, on the way of the Cross, and up Golgotha, how might God be calling us to give without holding back in total self-emptying, self-sacrificing love this Holy Week?
Peace in Christ,