A mid-Holy Week reflection: from a friar ministering at the wall between USA and Mexico

Holy Week will be very different this year


All of Holy Week will be different this year.

We won’t wash feet. We won’t eat bread together or share the same cup.  And we won’t gather in the dark to kindle a new fire and light the Paschal Candle.
Holy Week and Easter will not happen in the church this year like they have in previous years.
But the truth is they never did happen in the church.
They always happen in the circumstances of our lives. And this year that’s especially important to remember and hang on to.
This year the pandemic is our Holy Week. It will also be the place from which new life arises. This year the gifts, grace, love, and power of Holy Week and Easter come to us, not in spite of the pandemic, but through it.
We are in turmoil as was the city of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.  What are we to do?   Who should we listen to?  What action should we take?  Where do we look for direction?  How can we move beyond all of this?

Remember:  Openness to life is the call of Jesus in each of our lives and that is what the gospel is about. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  It’s why there are so many stories of Jesus healing the blind and deaf. Jesus is opening eyes and ears to the promise, to the future, to the coming of life and life abundant. It’s why, so many times, Jesus tells us to stay awake, to be watchful, and to not fall asleep. He’s telling us to stay open to our future, to our coming life.
Jerusalem has killed the prophets, the ones who were calling it into a future. It has stoned those sent to bring it life, life to the fullest. And now we stand in silence, in awe of the mystery of our salvation as we remember:
This is the One God sent because God “so loved the world.”
This is the One who promises, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
This is the One who says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying burdens, and I will give you rest.”
This is the One who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
This is the One who says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
This is the One who says, “I am the good shepherd.”
This is the One“who calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
This is the One who says, “I am the light of the world.”
This is the One who says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
This is the One who comes that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.”
This is the One who is “making all things new.”
This is the One who embodies God’s promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
This is the One who says, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I hope you hear the echoes of Easter in the list of who this One is because I’m going to ask you to do something. I want you to look around at everything that is happeing. I want you to look at what is happening within yourself. I want you to pay attention and take it all in. It will be difficult and painful; Holy Week always is.
Whatever your Holy Week is – whatever it brings you, takes from you, or asks of you – it already resounds with the echoes of Easter. That’s always the tension in Holy Week. It’s the tension in our lives. And it was the tension in Jesus’ life.
So keep awake and be ready. Do not for one minute close your eyes or turn away from your Holy Week, because this One who enters the turmoil of Jerusalem, this One who comes in the name of the Lord” – this is the One who will rise to new life on the third day.
***And he plans on taking you with him.***

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Statio orbis – Eucharistic Adoration with Pope Francis

Pope Francis

In order to offer intercession and consolation during this time of exceptional discomfort, the Holy Father will preside over a time of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration in Saint Peter’s Square, without a congregation of the lay faithful, on Friday 27th March 2020 at 5.00pm, London time.

This Statio orbis will be broadcast on mondovision and streamed by Vatican News.
During this time of prayer Pope Francis will impart the Urbi et Orbi Blessing and will also concede a Plenary Indulgence to all those persons who participate in these prayers via the communications media.

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Now that winter is over

The wolf was facing a slow death. Too old to hunt, pushed out of the pack, he settled for sheep. Later, he settled for children and old folk, alone in the streets of Gubbio. How frightened and desperate he was?

Francis was summoned and asked to deal with this terrorist from beyond the city walls. He took courage in order to face the wolf, outside the City, in the forest. As the wolf approached, he saw and understood what was driving the animal. Hunger, fear and the simple need to survive. A blind panic that forced him to such terrible evil.

And Francis was afraid! He wrestled with his own dark energy and understood that if he was to survive this encounter, he must find a bigger, more positive energy. And there it was, arising deep in his strangled gut, like a spring of everlasting life. Compassion flooded his being.

His terror fled before it and was replaced by a great peace. Along with a desire to save the wolf. Do people recognise this upsurge of God’s love in another’s heart? The wolf certainly did, as like the woman at the well, he was filled with this flood of love and instead of attacking this ragged little man, he merely held out his paw, to be grasped and quickly blessed.

A deal was done and. The people, infected by Francis’ beaming smile, were more than happy to feed the wolf, in return for his protection of their sheep.

Now we look out at world threatened by Corona virus. Should we act out of fear and desperation? Or can we draw from the well of compassion within us all, to discern the golden opportunity it offers us? To learn such a great lesson?

800 years later in Assisi, the newspapers were full of the name, ‘Il Lupo’ (the wolf), the terrorist, Bin Laden. No one chose to heal, that wolf. Today, we stare out a vicious virus, that the human eye cannot see. What will we do, in our own hour of need?


With grateful credit to Bernard Joy Franciscan Community of Our Lady of Compassion

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