With today’s celebration of Palm Sunday we enter a week that we call Holy Week. While every week is holy, in this Holy Week we face death. While some will simply look back two thousand years and recall the historic events of Jesus’ suffering and death, we Christians today make a decision to walk this path to the cross with Jesus. Not that we will necessarily die this week, but every one of us will face death in some way: uncertainly in a relationship, work and home worries, financial insecurity, anxiety about those we love. Each of these unwanted experiences is a taste of death and very week is holy when we remember the cross of Jesus.
As a child I recall crucifixes hanging prominently in Catholic homes and classrooms. In recent years we seem to have thought it better to focus on the resurrection, egged-on by an emphasis on positive thinking urging us to look on the bright side of life. But our challenge is to recall that resurrection only makes sense for the one who has died, and death (because of the death and resurrection of Jesus) is no longer the problem in life or the obstacle to growth but the pathway to intimacy with God and others now and eternally.And the Sign of the Cross, the best known of all Catholic prayers, even when signed in silence in a moment of need, is the most simple and profound of all prayers.
An Invitation: Take this week ahead, the journey to Easter, as a retreat in daily life. While you maintain all necessary family, work and social commitments, take time every day to sit with the crucifix. Feel with Jesus the pain of being betrayed and abandoned by friends and unjustly punished and crucified. Know that the crucifix is the reminder that our own struggles, anxiety and suffering when lived with Jesus, is our path to the abundant life we seek here on earth and for eternity.
Fr. John O’Connor www.foodforfaith.org.nz
Download full newsletter hereNewsletter 14 April 2019