March 25, 2018 – A View from the Rectory Window

During our Parish Mission this Holy Season of Lent, we have been invited to walk with Jesus.  I believe this     invitation is of particular importance as we prepare to enter into Holy Week.  To walk with Him, presumes we   recognize Him.

On Palm Sunday last year, Pope Francis said that as Holy Week begins, we should contemplate not only the glory with which Jesus is recognized as king as he enters Jerusalem, but also the suffering he endures before his death, and which is seen in the many who suffer due to war, violence and slavery today.

As the Church enters into the week before Jesus’ Passion and death, the Lord “does not ask us to contemplate him only in pictures and photographs, or in the videos that circulate on the internet.  No.”  Instead, Jesus is present “in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own: they suffer from slave labor, from family tragedies, from diseases.”

Many people also suffer from “wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike.  Women and men who are cheated, violated in their dignity, discarded.  Jesus is in them, in each of them, and, with marred    features and broken voice, he asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved,” the Pope said.

The presence of God in each of these brothers and sisters is not “some other Jesus,” the Pope said, but is “the same Jesus who entered Jerusalem amid the waving of palm branches.  It is the same Jesus who was nailed to the cross and died between two criminals.”

“He is clearly a Messiah who comes in the guise of a servant, the servant of God and of man, and goes to his    passion.  He is the great ‘patient,’ who suffers all the pain of humanity,” he said, and encouraged faithful to reflect on the suffering Jesus would face in the week before his death.

As we listen to the crowd joyfully acclaim Jesus as our King, let us also reflect on “the slanders and insults, the snares and betrayals, the abandonment to an unjust judgment, the blows, the lashes and the crown of thorns, and lastly, the way of the cross leading to the crucifixion,” the Pope said.

Pointing to the passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples that if anyone wants to follow him, “let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” Pope Francis noted that, “Jesus never promised honor and success.  The Gospels make this clear.”

Rather, the Lord had always warned his disciples that his was a path of suffering, and that the final victory would be achieved through his Passion and death on the cross.

“All this holds true for us too,” the Pope said, and urged those present to pray for the grace “to follow Jesus    faithfully, not in words but in deeds.”  He also encouraged them to pray for the patience “to carry our own cross, not to refuse it or set it aside, but rather, in looking to him, to take it up and to carry it daily.”  In our crosses and in the sufferings of others may we recognize Him who walks with us,

Fr. Pete