Are We Done Yet?
During these Lenten days I have been asking if you would dare to join me in becoming a little more uncomfortable by looking directly at the spiritual gift of memento mori (remember thy death). Along the way some have asked “are we done with this death stuff yet?” or “come-on lighten up already Father,” as if I have forced some unexpected morbid death sentence upon them. I know some prefer to use euphemisms like “he transitioned” or “they went to a better place” or “she passed.” The reality is, unless Jesus Christ comes again in your lifetime, one day all of us will die. Sr. Theresa Aletha Noble wrote in her book Remember Your Death “by keeping death daily before one’s eyes, life is made better…how might your life be different if every day you reminded yourself of this fact?” Bottom line, death in itself is an evil…and Jesus Christ destroys all evil. Saint Augustine wrote that death is “the very violence with which body and soul are wrenched asunder.” But, especially during this holiest of all weeks, we confidently stare down death and rejoice because Jesus Christ has conquered and changed the nature of death for those who believe. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “The sting of death is extinguished in Christ.” So do not be afraid to enter fully into this Holy Week!
This week, in particular the Triduum (the “three days” from Holy Thursday eve through Easter Sunday eve), begs us to not be afraid of death and to embrace His Cross. Almost nothing on your schedule should take the place of you being aware of every sacred moment. You know it all begins under the shadow of His Cross, begging of you a greater awareness that His Passion has saved you from the slavery of sin, and His Death has conquered even your death…but can you do it? Will you actively change your planned, preoccupied, and all too predictable life enough this week so Jesus can bring you everything you truly need for eternity? As Catholics this week IS NOT about some heartwarming reenactment of a wafer and grape juice or scripted Last Supper, the washing of stinky ole feet, or feeling awkward about kissing His non-Purelled Old Rugged Cross after everyone else did! This week is about your present day life and present day cross that Jesus Christ invites you to carry with Him as His beloved disciple.
Please be sure to look at this bulletin to be aware of the available times to celebrate these holiest of days. From the waving of your palm branches, to the breaking of His sacred bread and sharing in His sacrificial chalice, to choosing between a kiss of betrayal to the venerating kiss upon the Wood of the Cross, to asking for the courage to stand beneath Him as He breathes His last as He cries out “consummatum est” (it is finished/consummated), dare to enter this Passionate week and be ready to have everything in your life be changed for all eternity!
Pax, Fr. Bline