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Final Stages of Lent

Apr 7

Written by:
4/7/2019 12:12 AM  RssIcon

We are entering the final stages of Lent, and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection is approaching. These are the ‘High Holy Days’ of our Church’s calendar and are the core of who we are as Catholics and what it means to be a Christian and disciple of Jesus. There are a few thoughts I would like to reflect upon for this column today.

One, Jesus embraces the Cross to transform our suffering into something that can bring us life. His embrace of the Cross is still an image I remember seeing from ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ which was released over fifteen years ago now. I can still see how Jim Caviezel’s depiction of Jesus looked at the Cross with a sense of love, appreciation and anticipation. As we walk with Jesus along Holy Week, might He give us the strength and courage to embrace our crosses as well.

Second, Good Friday and Easter Morning are so intimately linked, we cannot have one without the other. Or, Good Friday and that embrace of the Cross is meaningless until Easter morning happens. With His Resurrection, Jesus changes all of creation. With His Resurrection, everything is redeemed and we are drawn into new life because of His power. This should give us great confidence that the Lord can bring life to us, too, in our own striving to embrace the Cross.

Third, Jesus thinks of you while He is doing this. Passiontide and Holy Week are not just a re-airing of the latest blockbuster movie; they are our re-entrance into these very mysteries. When we celebrate them as a Christian Community, it is as if we are right there with Jesus, with Mary, with Peter and the Apostles, with Mary Magdalene, etc. When Jesus prays at the Last Supper in John’s narrative of these events, He tells the Twelve that He is also praying for those who will believe because of their testimony, which is us! And when Jesus looks down while hanging on the Cross, He is looking at His Mother and the Disciple whom He loves. While we know this John from the accounts of the narrative, we can also place ourselves into this scene, too, allowing Jesus to look at me, individually, while He is doing this!

A few weeks back, I invited you to take the risk to join us for the Pastoral Area Mission by Michael Gormley (by this point, we should have those talks posted either on Facebook or the parish websites); today, I would like to continue that invitation to join us next week for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Commemoration of His Passion and the Celebration of the Easter Vigil during our High Holy Days of Holy Week. Michael talked about the ‘One Thing’ that keeps us from receiving the Love of God; as we enter into this time of year which we call ‘Holy,’ it is the best opportunity we have to offer that ‘One Thing’ to Jesus for Him to transform it into something that gives life, instead of saps it away.

Please join us for these most intimate and powerful celebrations!

In Christ,
Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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