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April 7, 2022

In this issue


Holy Week Approaches
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P., Spiritual Director
Our Lenten journey is approaching the summit of the Paschal Mystery as we enter into Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

In many parishes and communities, the practice of the Palm Sunday procession represents the gathering of the people to welcome Jesus into their midst.

Beneath the public acclamation is a current of treachery and betrayal. Judas Iscariot and the religious leaders make a deal, for thirty pieces of silver they can get their hands on Jesus.

Jesus feels the dread for what lies ahead, and He asks the twelve apostles to share one last Passover meal with Him. Jesus has one last instruction to give them by His example.

The meal finished and they retire to the solitary garden of olives so that Jesus can prepare for His ordeal. In the dead of night, Jesus is arrested and tortured to be rid of Him once and for all. Even the people cry out “Crucify Him.”

Crucify Him they do. On a hillside, in public view, with few courageous enough to mourn at His feet.

Let us willingly and gratefully make this week a week-long “Stations of the Cross.” The Way of the Cross began for Jesus when He said “yes” to the Father and became a human being. His passion continues every day on the cross of suffering carried by the innocent victims of violence, war, greed, racism and hatred.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You; because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.
 
As we contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus and the suffering He endured on the Cross this Holy Week, the Passionists invite you to pray the Stations of the Cross with us. During this most sacred time of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, let us seek Him out, ask His help, join in His suffering and learn to love like Him.
Meditation and Text of St. Paul of the Cross
From his spiritual diary, via passiochristi.org

At the end of Lent, after narrating the scene of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem,
the Evangelist John refers to the appearance of Greeks who want to “see” Jesus.
Jesus then poignantly declares the profound meaning of His whole life and His upcoming death.   


“We would like to see Jesus.”
Who is this Jesus that we want to see? We are moved by the deep desire to know up close the mystery that is within that God-man and that attracts us to Him -- His faithful and dedicated love for the Father and His merciful presence to His brothers and sisters. His life that is about to be destroyed, a word that will be “silenced” and “buried” in the depths of the earth in order to bear the fruit of abundant life.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified […] Father, glorify your name.”
(“holy be your Name” Mt. 6:9) The “hour” of Jesus is the moment when the Father will give the greatest proof of His love for humanity and fulfill the glorification of His Son in the very event of His Passion and Cross, before the Resurrection, when He freely and consciously offered Himself. When Jesus is raised up, everyone will be able to clearly see His true greatness and glory. It is not a glory in the purely human sense; rather it is a glory that is revealed through suffering and death.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies…”
As with the natural germination process of wheat, it is only when the seed is planted, absorbs moisture, and breaks open that all its vitality is released. Jesus uses this image to refer to Himself; it is His own story. Like a grain of wheat, He descended into the earth in his Passion and death and produced much fruit by His Resurrection. This must also be the dynamic process of the life of every disciple of Jesus who wants to serve Him and be alive in Him. We only know Jesus to the extent that we follow Him. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Mt. 16:25) Descending into the ground and dying to selfishness is the way to bear fruit that will be preserved for eternal life. (Jn 12:25). If the disciple, like Jesus, is “sown,” becomes hidden from sight, he will emerge to new life. We must be emptied of ourselves and our own interests in order to move beyond ourselves and encounter and serve others. We must “transcend” and fight the narcissistic temptation of “self-absorption”. “We would like to see Jesus” cannot remain on a level of mere curiosity or intellectual knowledge; it requires taking a step towards transcendence for the sake of missionary service. “Whoever serves Me must follow Me, and where I am, there also will My servant be.” (Jn.12:26)

Read the full reflection here [PDF]

 

The Passion of Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love. The greatest and most overwhelming work of God's love.

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