Palms. Cheers. Crowds. Confusion.
Our Lenten journey has brought us to the dirt road which leads into Holy Week. The stage is set and we are invited to walk the rest of the way with Jesus—through the cheering crowds of supporters, past the Sanhedrin contemplating his arrest, into the upper room to celebrate the Passover meal with his best friends, witnessing his companion’s betrayal, the panicked prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest and abuse by soldiers, the torturous and humiliating walk to Golgotha and his slow agonizing death on a tree.
We stand at the foot of the cross—helpless, hysterical, and empty.
Our minds can barely hold this surreal image of Jesus, with desperate effort our arms cannot reach him, and our hearts can’t embrace his agony. There is a deafening silence that stifles any words that try to form on our lips into prayer. Yet we wait, slowly falling to our knees.
As you worked at the daily activities of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, kindness, presence, and service over the past six weeks, what have you learned about yourself? What does your experience at the cross ask of you going forward?
I am reminded of Pope Francis’ words during his shared meditation for Urbi et orbi blessing:
“Embracing the cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity, and solidarity. By His cross, we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope. Jesus revives our Easter faith. By his cross, we have been saved, redeemed, healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. We have Hope.”
Jesus did not remain on the cross; not even the grave could contain him. Love concurs all—He rose from death and lives among us. Easter Sunday is not the end of Easter but the beginning of our transformed choices, behaviors and new life in Christ.
And so, we journey forward in confidence and faith, allowing the symbol of the cross to serve as a reminder that Jesus accompanies us through the hardships, trials and little deaths of life. Death does not have the last word. The grave will provide shelter from the storms we experience, but opens us to the joys of life and the creativity of the Spirit which sends us forth to be Christ to others. We have hope!
How will you live your transformed being as a 'resurrected people'?
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