One week from today is Easter Sunday! We will celebrate the triumph of Jesus over the final enemy … death! It is only correct and just that if we wish to join in the victory, then we should enter into the struggle, which precedes it. During Lent, we have been given the opportunity to reflect upon the quality of our lives in the face of the Lenten Invitation: Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. To help us in our Lenten response. The Readings for the five Sundays of Lent have given us a great deal of Food for Thought, and ample opportunity to reawaken our inner spirit to follow Christ wholeheartedly. As we said at the beginning of Lent, this is our Spiritual Training time. Any athlete who is serious about staying in ‘good nick’ knows that if the training fades away, we don’t fade away…we just get bigger in body weight and sluggish in most of our ways. The same can apply to our Spiritual life.
Lent is the perfect opportunity to put our Spiritual Fitness First! The rest of the year is not ‘holiday time’ it is all about keeping in practice the lessons and guidelines that we have embraced during Lent. This will help us in a big way to keep us on track till next Lent.
Today, as we receive our Blessed Palm, and give thanks and praise to God, we are given the chance to enter into the spirit of Holy Week. We can take this opportunity to walk with Jesus through this week in all its moods and complexities, and to finally rejoice in the Father’s glory when ‘life’ was re breathed into Jesus His Son: that new life which is offered to everyone which is celebrated on Easter Sunday is refreshed in us.
When we speak about Jesus in the Mass, for example, we use the past tense. “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life” … “By your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free”. In other words, Jesus has already completed his part of the formula for salvation; now the rest is up to us. Of course, we are not alone in this venture; the Holy Spirit is alive within God’s household, to stir is, guide us and remind us of all that Jesus has said and done. This week is a sacred time; it is up to us whether we wish to enter deeply into the spirit of it or not.
The secular world is well and truly geared up for huge Easter egg sales, Hot Cross Buns, and massive attendances at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney; let alone getaway holidays, BBQ’s at home, and just taking it easy. The beginning and the end of these secular activities is often the $$$$ and relatively short intervals of happiness. … But for us, the end of this week is New Life! A renewed zest in living the Good News, and being part of THE ultimate joy, that God’s plan will always win out, even as it’s opposite forces try to stamp on it. The Faces have changed, but the methods of God, remain the same.
Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power, through every age for ever. Amen
By his holy and glorious wounds, May Christ Our Lord, guard us and keep us. Amen
May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds!
When we enter into the Church’s Liturgy at the Easter Triduum … Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil/Sunday, this newness of life and attentiveness to God’s Mission for us must be nourished and sustained. If we take ‘time out’ as family and individuals to make this journey, the results will be far more lasting for us than from a Chocolate Easter Bunny or a dozen Hot Cross Buns! Lent/ Holy Week is the most important time of the year. It’s all about the fortifying of our inner selves; it is about letting God’s Word shape and reshape our Spirituality so that we can deal with the real issues of day to day life as a Christian. If we let Holy Week pass by as just time off from work, holidays, fishing, camping or just laying around at home….we can’t expect our spiritual selves to deal with anything much. In short, as people, we can become just living objects who just exist, and are generally a pain in the neck to most other people, lacking life and drive….vegetables with legs!
There is a time and place for celebration, but it becomes all the more worthwhile when it has been earned through solid attentiveness to Jesus, who invites us to be truly servants of each other; to be responsive to His constant invitation to be with Him in prayer; to walk the Way of the Cross; and to allow the Cross to speak to our hearts. By entering into this mystery, we can rejoice in our God who loves us into life, and gives us the responsibility through our Baptism, to share it with others.
Now is the time to plan our week! Now is decision time! There will be many inviting alternatives, which could take up our time and promise us rewards. However, this is the week of all weeks in which we as a community, can be renewed through prayerfully and seriously walking the road to Calvary together … and then into the light of Resurrection.
Our reward? A greater alertness to the suffering Christ in His people today, and the strength and quality to be ‘Easter People’ in a world where His Word is still to be proclaimed and heard.
May this week be a source of blessing for all of us.
PRAYER REFLECTION: What Faith does?
Some people think that if you have enough faith life will be plain sailing. But this is not so.
The fact that we can swim doesn’t prevent us from being knocked about by the waves.
In the same way faith doesn’t shield us
from the hard knocks of life or death.
What, then does faith do?
It gives us bearings, and thus enables us
to live in a fragile world
without getting lost or giving in to despair.
Just as swimmers trust that if they don’t panic,
and if they do a few simple things,
then the power of the sea will uphold them.
So believers entrust their lives
to a greater power than us all.
This power is the creative dynamic of God,
who rebreathed new life into his Son at the moment of His Resurrection! We are called to re breathe new life into our sisters and brothers, our Society, our country, our world!