Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I am posting a reflection that pertains to the coming week---Holy Week. The pastor at the parish I grew up with, my home parish in West Allis, Wisconsin, mentioned in an e-mail several days ago that he was thinking about what to say for Palm Sunday (today). It got me thinking a little bit...
As we were saying rosary in the house tonight, the fourth sorrowful mystery struck me as something to possibly ponder in light of Palm Sunday. Jesus carries the cross...we each carry a cross---individually and collectively. Whatever that cross may be, it sticks with us for a lifetime.
We each walk the path alongside Jesus, following him to the place of his death. We, as Christians, seek to hoist our crosses on the mountain alongside our Lord, dying where he destroyed our death. We cry in the valley of tears, on top of Mt. Calvary with Jesus as we contemplate his death. We relate his death to the death of someone we hold near and dear. It gives our theology substance and an intimacy that is both beautiful and painful. His suffering on the cross becomes the pains we cannot understand---the emotional, the physical pains we experience individually and collectively. Why does a woman expecting a child miscarry seven months into a pregnancy? Why did I lose my job after 25 years of faithful service to my company? How could a person abuse his own child? What compells a teenager to take her own life?
These kinds of questions are crosses to bear---societal, philosophical, mysterious questions that have no short and easy answer. They are shrouded in mystery and they bring us to despair in actuality. But these questions---these crosses---need not be carried by us alone. And, as we hope and pray, these crosses do have some kind of meaning, a mysterious explanation that, though we may never be able to humanly give, our Lord provides us with the courage to place into his life. When our cross becomes unbearable is presicely the time that we can realize that the burden is light---there is a light. But that light has to experience complete darkness---the light has to be beaten and battered, strip to the core of its very existence, for us to realize that that light cannot be burnt out.
When we feel that our crosses---the individual ones we have trouble admitting of and the societal, group crosses that we sometimes can point out, other times take a part in producing---are too heavy for us to walk with, we might want to turn to Jesus at his time of most painful suffering. Hanging on a cross, ready and willing to die, the Gospel attributes these words to Jesus: "Father, into your hands, I commend my Spirit." Our Spirits, though wounded and broken at times---though we can sometimes feel so much pain that we or our world seem or seems to be on the eve of destruction---can always be redeemed by echoing these Words of Christ. That is what we believe.
We believe that in dying Christ restored our life, and in dying to the message of Christ, we can actively live to carry our cross in a way that becomes a burden with a purpose, a burden with meaning.We all sin---but we are all called to be saints. We all Spiritually starve sometimes---but we are all worthy of the Heavenly banquet. We all were there when they crucified our Lord. We were---are---all there when they nail God to the tree. And we are asked to have no fear in hoisting our own crosses alongside Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, person stripped of everything...dripping of blood and tears and sweat and emotion whispers "it is finished."
We hoist our cross in the same mountainous valley of tears in confidence that the peaceful valley rains down to wash away all that death could not do to Christ. His life is done but he is miraculously undone. We believe that stones can be rolled away. Away and away and away until the heart of what is meant to be revealed is revealed. As we anticipate Easter Sunday, let's consider making this week a Holy, Passionate week where we are made deeply aware of the crosses we can and can't communicate to others, ultimately bringing them to communion with our Lord and with one another at Supper. We gather at table to be made aware that the crosses we bare can be carried by a Resurrected Jesus. "It is finished." But not really.
peace and blessings!
your friend bob : )