Daily reflections for the 40 days of Lent, written by various authors. Subscribe to receive them in your inbox each morning. Prepare to be inspired!
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Tonight is the Easter Vigil, and I thought a short reflection appropriate. Many people have spent this week reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death. Tonight at Mass, there will be numerous readings to reflect upon, and we will also join in support and celebration of those persons entering the church. Our presence is a physical reminder that this celebration of Easter is about relationships. These new members of the Church need our support, prayer and love. They are a great reminder that God is merciful and compassionate.
Sometimes God’s mercy comes in the form of tears. Pope Francis, in his Ash Wednesday homily, urged the faithful to pray for the gift of tears. He said that tears would “make our prayer and our journey of conversion more authentic and without hypocrisy”. This prayer should have great meaning and hope for us all. For we fail to experience the deep joy, gratitude, and reconciliation of Easter, without a very real sense of what God has done. We pray for tears, because tears are a witness to reality. We stand in dire need of a relationship, the relationship that satisfies our deepest yearnings and desires, and covers us in the blood of Jesus to expiate sin.
We are nothing. We are poor. We are hopeless. We are desperate. We are empty. We are incomplete.
I just returned from Holy Thursday Mass. A celebration that is so beautiful, so solemn, so intriguing. I was waiting for inspiration to write this piece. I needed a moment among others who were seeking the same thing that I was.
People who are nothing..poor..hopeless..desperate..empty..and incomplete.
Have you ever been part of a foot-washing ceremony? When I had this blessing, I experienced a great deal of humble love on both sides of the basin. And it is another ceremony where we experience the gift of touch. Jesus with skin on.
In praying about writing this, my many thoughts were distilled into one word: welcome.
Several years ago, there was a commercial for Calgon foam bath that showed a housewife, who appeared to be frantic and stressed as the phone rang, the kids cried, the dishes piled up, and the dog barked. The woman stops what she is doing and shouts, “Calgon take me away.” In the next scene, she is enjoying a Calgon bubble bath without a care in the world.
While I am not a big fan of bubble baths, I certainly can relate to the need to have a break when life gets complicated. I think all of us, regardless of age, need times in which we wish we could just find a quiet place where we can be alone. The challenges of everyday life can wear us down sometimes, leaving us feeling stressed, and, perhaps even worse, making us forget about the many blessings in our lives.
We were never promised a trouble-free and stress-free life, but we were promised that whatever difficulties we face would not define us or defeat us. Jesus became Man in order to show us how to live our lives, and He died so that we would have eternal life. His Resurrection is the promise of a new day and new opportunities.
Isaiah 49: 1-6
Psalm 71: 1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15, and 17
John 12: 21-33, 36-38
In the Gospel today, we see the extreme and radical love God has for His people. Jesus predicts two different betrayals and yet still loves those who will betray Him – Judas and Peter – in the most intimate way through the Eucharist. If you knew someone was going to betray you, would you invite them to a gathering of friends and give your entire self to them? I can’t say that I would, but Jesus does. And not only does He do this in the Gospel today, but He does it every single day.