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Monday, April 30, 2007

"I am the Good Shepherd. I know mine and mine know me".

In today's Gospel Jesus continues to tell us that he is the Shepherd of the sheep.
The sheep hear his voice, "as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."

How do I feel when Jesus calls me by name? How do I respond?

Jesus tells us, "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."I feel both gratitude and joy knowing that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He cares for us, loves us, calls us by name, and leads us so that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shepherd but also Lamb

The Liturgy for the 4th Sunday of Easter has Jesus as both Lamb and Shepherd.
The 2nd reading is from Revelation and speaks three times of the Lamb:
1- the multitude "stood before the throne and before the Lamb...
2- then one of the elders said, "These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them in the blood of the Lamb.
3- "For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

So, the Lamb shepherds us and Jesus is both the Paschal Lamb and the Good Shepherd "who laid down his life for his sheep, who died for his flock, he is risen, alleluia!" (Communion antiphon)

One summer after a serious bout of anemia when I had not strength to walk a block, I went into retreat. Those eight days are remembered vividly because I actually felt the presence of the Good Shepherd carrying me in His arms. The image and the feeling of being carried with love is all that I remember from that retreat but it still gives me great consolation. "Shepherd me, O God, from all my wants, from all my fears, from death into life."We are indeed his people, "the sheep of the flock."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Good Shepherd Sunday

The fourth Sunday after Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Psalm 100 reminds us: "We are his people, the sheep of his flock." I love the Gospel of John where Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me."
Years ago, when I lived in Chile, one of our community houses was surrounded by a yard with a flock of sheep who all had biblical names and came when they were called. They are not very bright and almost had to be led to the food put out for them. They did follow when called by name.

I love Psalm 23: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want ..." I read this quote about not fearing: "God, as shepherd, so protects his sheep that they need not fear their enemies (v. 4). He leads them in safety through dangerous situations. Defenseless sheep can, without fear, entrust their shepherd to direct their way, even “through the valley of the shadow of death” (v. 4). There is a ravine south of the Jericho Road that leads from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea that shepherds call the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This narrow defile, four and a half miles long, runs through a mountainous range where overhanging cliffs may be as much as 1500 feet high. There sheep traverse the valley floor which may be very dangerous because it is subject to erosion by cloud bursts. At times there are gullies seven or eight feet deep where wild dogs may lurk to prey on the sheep. The psalmist affirms his faith in God, his shepherd, by promising not to be afraid, even in the most dreadful circumstances likened to that of sheep passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death." I shall try to find where I am quoting this from and let you know as I think it was a homily. More about the Good Shepherd tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Browse the Catholic Bookrack: By Category: Reference Works

Browse the Catholic Bookrack: By Category: Reference Works
Here is a good place to find all the books that Benedict XVI wrote before he was Pope.

God meets me in the pool.

I try to go to water exercise every morning and I feel it is one of the most contemplative things I do. I usually rush into the pool just at 9:00 in the morning and so spend the first minutes greeting the extraordinary women who come so faithfully. In the meantime, we are exercising our arms under the water as we exercise our lips to catch up with each other. One of my favorite friends will soon be 90 and I am planning a party for her; she joined me for Centering Prayer yesterday and then we played Scrabble as she is a great Scrabble player.
All the women in the pool seem to have the wisdom of life experience and the sharing we do is fantastic! Then we get down to serious exercises that require our silent participation and that is when God seems just to be so present in all - the people, (there are some men who come, too), the water, the sun, the whole atmosphere. I am grateful that I can be immersed in God there so easily. At the end of the hour, when my time permits, we walk or skip the length of the pool for another fifteen minutes. This is when being the only nun that goes to water exercise and the only one some have ever met, becomes a great opportunity to share His Love, but mostly I am receiving His love. I know this public pool has become a sacred space for me. His joy is reflected in so many faces full of His goodness.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Easter Joy

Today I was looking at the Easter prefaces for the Liturgy during this joyous season - there are five Prefaces of Easter and each has "We praise you with greater joy than ever in this Easter season, when Christ became our paschal sacrifice."
Then there is something different for each of the five. One of my theology professors once said that "if you want to understand the theology of a feast, go to the Preface."
Easter Preface 1 "He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world. By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life."
Easter Preface 2 "He has made us children of the light, rising to new and everlasting life. He has opened the gates of heaven to receive his faithful people. His death is our ransom from death; his resurrection is our rising to life.
Easter Preface 3 "He is still our priest, our advocate who always pleasds our cause. Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives for ever."
Easter Preface 4 "In Him a new age has dawned, the long reign of sin is ended, a broken world has been renewed, and man is once again made whole."
Easter Preface 5 "As he offered his body on the cross, his perfect sacrifice fulfilled all others. As he gave himself into your hands for our salvation, he showed himself to be the priest, the altar, and the lamb of sacrifice."
Easter Prefaces 2-5 end with: "The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world, while the choirs of heaven sing for ever to your glory: Holy, holy...
We indeed have reason to praise You with greater joy, Lord. Help us to live in Your Joy and give it to others today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The "Good News"

Today is the Feast of St. Mark. In Mark's Gospel, Jesus sends the Eleven saying: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to every creature."(Mk 16:15)
I started reflecting on the "Good News" and how I proclaim it. Luke has the angel tell the shepherds, "Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you "good news" of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord."
The "Good News" is the coming of the Lord. God so loves the world that He sent his only Son ...
Mark told us at the beginning of his Gospel: "...Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God, and saying, "The Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the "Good News." (Mk 1:14-15)
Jesus reveals God's love for us--the Good News. Later, Mark says after the Ascension of Jesus, "and they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it." (Mk 16:20)
So I am called to go out and proclaim this Good News --God loves us; Jesus is risen! Alleluia!
Good news is not given with a sad face. Jesus said that "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. . .I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." Let us go forth with joy to proclaim God's love, the Good News, to all the world!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"It is the Lord"

I am still with the Gospel of the Third Sunday of Easter. I think that we often just want to move on before we are finished praying with a passage. Jesus seems to be on the shore and calling to me. I can identify with the apostles who went fishing with Peter. Peter went back to his first call, his ordinary work. He toiled all night and with the dawn found Jesus waiting for him. He was willing to trust the one who called out from the shore, even though he did not yet know that it was Jesus. He obeyed, cast his net as directed, and found that there were now so many fish that they could not pull in the net. Sometimes it is that act of trust that makes all fruitful.

I love Peter jumping into the water to arrive more quickly to be with Jesus. And I never tire of contemplating that scene where Jesus has prepared breakfast for his friends. There is something so tender and human about building a fire to have fish cooked for these hungry men who have toiled all night without any success. Without Jesus, their nets would still be empty. When the disciple whom Jesus loved cried out, "It is the Lord" no one doubted as they immediately remembered the first, unexpected and immense catch when Jesus called them to leave all and follow Him. I think this Gospel reminds me of my first call and then the fact that Jesus is still calling me. He may wait until dawn to appear on the shore, but He is there and all is well. No matter what happens, especially success, I need to remember, "It is the Lord" and He is still calling me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

God, the Center of our Life

Some time ago, a friend sent me a card with this quote from St. Vincent de Paul"

"If God is the center of your life, no words are necessary.

Your mere presence will touch hearts."

I keep this on my prayer shelf as it speaks to me of what is essential-- keep God at the center. This means that I live my life around God, not self! It means that I am not only conscious of His presence in my daily life, moment by moment, but that I have a firm and honest commitment to lead a life that allows God to be at the center. It means living a discerning life to choose always what pleases Him. This is a strong desire and may it become a lived reality.

I was glad to see that we celebrate the feast of St. George today. He was an early martyr who lived in the late 3rd century and is supposed to have killed a dragon. He was made the patron saint of England in 1415. My family had so many males named George that we called them "big" George, "little George", "old George" and "young" George. May all the George's be with us today and give us courage as we celebrate their feasts.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Third Sunday of Easter-Part Two

After they had finished the breakfast prepared and served by Jesus, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
And Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Then Jesus asks him the same question and Peter replies the same, but now Jesus says, "Tend my sheep." And then a third time Jesus asks the same question, "Do you love me?" and Peter is distressed and replies: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Then Jesus says to him, "Feed my sheep."
Peter had denied Jesus three times. Now Jesus gives Peter the opportunity to affirm three times that he loves him. Peter's answer is one of my favorite lines from the Gospels that I often find myself repeating: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." I like it better in Spanish and had it written across a blackboard in my office in Chile until the earthquake of 1965 destroyed office, school, and convent. "Senor, tu sabes todo; tu sabes que te quiero." Sorry but this is without the accents.

Jesus also says to Peter, "Amen, amen I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Something for me to reflect on as I grow old.
Then Jesus says: "Follow me."
He continues to call us and asks only that we love him!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Third Sunday of Easter-Part One

Jesus reveals himself again to his disciples. Peter had said that he was going fishing and the six other disciples who were with him said they would go, too. They got into the boat and fished all night but caught nothing. When it was dawn, Jesus comes and calls from the shore: "Children, have you caught anything?" When they respond with an emphatic "no", Jesus tells them to cast the net to the right side of the boat. They do it and cannot pull the net in because of the huge amount of fish. John says to Peter, "It is the Lord" and Peter jumps into the sea to swim ashore to reach Jesus. Jesus has prepared breakfast for them with a fire that has fish on it and bread, but he tells them to bring more fish. Then he says, "Come, have breakfast." And he took bread and gave it to them and then the fish. This was the third time they had seen the risen Jesus.

There is more, but the Liturgy offers the option of stopping here as this scene has so much to think about and it is one of the most intimate scenes of Jesus with his disciples for he not only has prepared breakfast for them but given them another catch of fish after they had toiled all night and caught nothing. He uses some of the fresh fish and serves them himself.

It was Peter who suggested going fishing; as a true leader, he announced that he was going and they followed, but the fish did not bite. When Jesus appears on the shore, they do not recognize him, but as soon as Peter hears that it is the Lord, he jumps into the water to go to Jesus the quickest way. I suspect that when he arrived, he did not really know what to say and maybe that is why they took time to count the fish! The point was that they were with Jesus. In prayer, words are not important. Just be there with Jesus.

Holy Desire

St. Augustine says that "the life of a good Christian consists of nothing else but holy desire."
St. Gregory believes that "holy desires grow by delays."
I feel that the longing for God increases; desire intensifies and does not cease. Desire is eternal. I desire to go beyond all the gifts given to desire only the Giver.

Yesterday the computer was off probably because of an electric power failure we had. I was frustrated but had many other things to do so maybe being away from the computer was a gift.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I have sought you with all my heart

My thoughts have continued to center around desire -- God's desire for me and my desire for God. Desire for God is a gift and just telling God that I desire Him increases the desire. Desire does not need words.

This morning I read over Psalm 119 (a long psalm and not a favorite) and found some verses jumped out at me and so I am sharing them with you, my readers, who seem to be in various parts of the world but seldom send comments. (I am grateful for feedback and do get some from Scotland which warms my heart.)

"With my whole heart I seek you" - that expresses my desire.

"My soul melts away for sorrow, strengthen me according to your word."
The tragic deaths of so many at Virginia Tech has united all of us at all universities in grief; the image of my soul melting away for sorrow seems to fit.

"Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord...I am yours; save me...
"You are my hiding place and my shield."
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

The Psalms make prayer easy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back From Retreat

It was wonderful to be able to have a mini-retreat in the Easter season. I thought much about how we are called to live as Easter people; we are called to live in joy and gratitude and trust.
I read that the Easter season of 50 days (ends on Pentecost) is the longest of the special seasons in the Church year and while Advent and Lent are seasons of preparation, the Easter season prolongs the celebration of Easter. Before Vatican II, the Sundays after Easter were called just that, "after Easter" but now they are called the "Second Sunday of Easter, the Third Sunday of Easter, etc.

What can I share of my retreat? The importance of silence. It was a time to stop whatever I had been doing and just be with the Lord. I tried to listen and be silent. I came home relaxed and renewed and found that a former student of mine in Maylasia, Dr. Alex Tang, had sent me his monthly reflection entitled: "Come Apart Before You Come Apart." Here are a few of his thoughts:
We need to take time out for silence and solitude because our bodies are not built for constant stress. What are the benefits? First, we will develop a discerning spirit. We get to know the Holy Spirit better when we are silent and when we are alone.
A time of silence and solitude can help us to become more sensitive to people.

His reflection ends with some questions and this prayer:
O Lord, help us to find time in our busy schedule for some silence and solitude. Teach us to speak the language of silence, and help us to be at peace in solitude. Show us that solitude is not loneliness but is being fully in your presence. In silence and with a grateful heart we pray." Amen.

How will I make time for some silence and solitude?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Chasing Joy

I am reading a little book by Edward Hays called Chasing Joy: Musings on life in a bittersweet world. Forest of Peace, 2007. Hays reminds us that St. Paul, in his very first letter written maybe as early as 25 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, tells the Thessalonians to "rejoice always" and I guess the rest of the book is trying to show us how this is possible given the bad news we receive everyday from the media from all parts of our world. I think that we need to remember that Jesus gave us His joy and told us not to let our hearts be troubled. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit but sometimes we need to cultivate an attitude of joy in our daily comings and goings. I think the source of my joy is know that I am loved unconditionally by God. No matter what happens, I am sure of His love and that is what gives me an inner joy that no one can take from me.
Please pray for my mini-retreat and I will be back blogging as soon as I have access, but think I will be taking a three-day break.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Desire in Merton's Prayer

Last night we ended our monthly reflection group with a prayer composed by Thomas Merton that I have always loved. The word "desire" lept out at me so it seems good to use it today in my blog. I also want to say that I will be going away for a three-day retreat so may miss blogging until next Tuesday but will keep on desiring that all of my readers are filled with desire for the Lord.

"My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone." (From Thoughts in Solitude)

I believe that the desire to please God does please Him and that is consoling.
He asks us to desire Him, to trust Him, and to love Him in all that we do.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Desire and Joy

I know that desire and joy are both part of my spirituality, but I am not sure how to explain the connection. Isaiah said: "Seek the Lord that your soul may live." I say: "Seek the Lord with intense desire and you will find joy."

In the noviceship I remember thinking that "God is all and everything else is nothing" would allow me to live in His joy. I thought that it was going to be easy. Little did I know how often I would find myself seeking something less than God. But joy comes for me in this desire to find God in all and to be able to say with St. Paul that everything else counts for nothing. In Spanish, one translation has "basura" which is garbage and a strong image.

The Lord said to Julian of Norwich: "I am he who makes you to long; I am he, the endless fulfilling of all true desires." God places desire in our hearts and wants us to find him and live in his joy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Desire is prayer

St. Augustine tells us that "God, by making us wait, stretches desire. Stretching desire, he stretches the soul. Stretching the soul, he makes us capable of receiving . . . such is our life: we must endeavor to desire."

My own experience with desire for God is that it becomes so intense that it hurts. In retreats, especially, I have felt such strong desire that I know it is creating a greater capacity in me to receive God's love. One of my favorite quotes is from St. Gregory the Great:
"The bridegroom hides when he is sought, so that, not finding Him, the bride may seek Him with a renewed ardor; and the bride is hampered in her search so that this delay may increase the capacity for God. and that she may find one day more fully what she was seeking."
The point is to desire to seek, to seek to find, and finding, to love and that will again increase desire. Try it and see!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Tuesday

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you . . .(Psalm 63)
Authentic desires reach into the very heart of our identies. Ignatius of Loyola said "to ask God our Lord for what I want and desire" at the beginning of every period of prayer. Thus we acknowledge our immediate need or want.

Desires are guides to what we are called to become, to live and to do. If our desires reveal who we are, then they help us to see our true self behind the masks we wear. At the same time our deepest desires reflect God's own desires, God's longing for the world as well as each of us.

Desires are God-given. Thomas Traherne, the 17th century Anglican priest and mystic wrote:
For giving me desire
An eager thirst, a burning ardent fire,
A virgin infant flame,
A love with which into the world I came,
An inward hidden heavenly love,
Which in my soul did work and move,
And ever ever me inflame,
With restless longing heavenly avarice,
That never could be satisfied,
That did incessantly a Paradise
Unknown suggest, and something undescribed
Discern, and bear me to it; be
Thy name for ever prais'd by me.
Today's reflection is based on notes from Sheldrake's book, "Befriending Our Desires and Traherne's poem was quoted there, too.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Monday

"As a deer yearns for running water,

so I yearn for you, my God."

As I begin Easter reflections for this blog, I am torn between joy and desire as the first theme to take up. On Easter Monday one is full of desire to live in joy, to rejoice with Jesus who is risen from the dead. But our desire to do this is important and makes me want to reflect on the role of desire in spirituality.

One of my favorite books is "Befriending Our Desires" by Philip Sheldrake who says that it is only by attending to our desires that we are able to encounter our deepest self--the image of God within us.

Desires are best understood as "our most honest experiences of ourselves" as we relate to others and our world around us. Catherine of Siena said that one of the few ways of touching God is by desire: "you have nothing infinite except your soul's love and desire."

Spirituality is associated with desire--our own and God's. God also desires us and gives us the desire for Him and that is a source of joy!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

He is risen! Alleluia, alleluia!

"Joy is the song of the spirit under the pressure of happiness."
(Janet Erskine Stuart)

Jesus began to spread joy on Easter morning. I firmly believe with St. Ignatius that Jesus went first to visit his mother. She was not with the women who ran to the tomb. Was it her faith that allowed her to wait or had Jesus come to her?

Jesus, knowing that Mary Magdalene had returned to the tomb weeping, appears to her and calls her by name. He sends her to give the good news that He is risen. Jesus later will appear to Peter and to the two discouraged disciples who have left Jerusalem. Like the disciples, they refused to believe the women and went away sad. Jesus comes and walks with them and their "hearts were burning within them" but they only recognized him in the breaking of the bread when they had begged him to sup with them.

Then Jesus appears to his apostles gathered together that Easter night. Instead of reproaching them, he gives the gift of forgiveness to all in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He wants us to share his joy and to give joy to others.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Holy Saturday

Jesus was taken down from the Cross and laid in a tomb yesterday and today we wait. It is a long day waiting for the Easter vigil.

The vigil begins with the blessing of the new fire and then the Easter candle is prepared. The celebrant cuts a cross and traces the Greek letters for Alpha and Omega and 2007 while praying:
"Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to him and all the ages;
to him be glory and power through every age and for ever." Amen

Then the five grains of incense are inserted saying, "By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ our Lord guard us and keep us." Amen
The candle is lit from the new fire:

May the Light of Christ,

rising in glory,

dispel the darkness

of our hearts and minds.

Three times on the way to the altar the candle is held up high and the priest sings, "Christ our Light" and we respond, "Thanks be to God."

Then the beautiful Exsultet is sung.Our waiting is over. Christ, our Light has overcome the darkness. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!

Good Friday

I feel that there are no words for me to say today. Let us try to stay with Jesus at the foot of the Cross, with Mary. Let me just be there in silent adoration.
Jesus did speak seven times on the Cross according to the Gospels:
"Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
To the good thief: "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
To His Mother and to John standing at the foot of the Cross: "Woman, behold, your son." "
"Behold, your mother."
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (the first line of Psalm 22)
"I thirst"
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
"It is finished."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Holy Thursday

As we approach Holy Thursday' Liturgy we are really going back to the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples. John tells us how Jesus began by washing the feet of his disciples. And then, the other evangelists give us an account of how Jesus gave us Himself. "This is my body given up for you. What a tremendous gift to know that Jesus is present to us and even asks us to take and eat; he wants to stay with us, to nourish us, and he wants us to remember this gift of Himself.
Teresa of Avila wrote: "After having received the Lord, since you have the Person Himself present, strive to close the eyes of the body and open those of the soul and look into your own heart."
She also said: "Be with Him willingly; don't lose so good an occasion for conversing with Him as is the time after having received Communion.
On another occasion she said: "If we were to approach the most Blessed Sacrament with great faith and love, once would be enough to leave us rich."
Holy Thursday is a good day to examine how I receive the Lord in Holy Communion and to thank Him again for this great gift.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Wednesday of Holy Week

April 4, 2007

Psalm 69 in today's Liturgy says:
Insult has broken my heart,
and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy,
but there was none;
for consolers, not one
could I find.
Lord, I want to be with you, to console you by my love.
There seems nothing more than I can say,
but ask the grace to stay with you today.
Last year I was in Chile and had the grace of a four-day retreat from Holy Thursday to Easter Monday. One of my RSCJ cousins died on Holy Thursday and the Provincial of Chile called to tell me before the evening liturgy. It was cold on the shore of the Pacific but I spent hours just looking at the ocean and contemplating God's great love for each of us and feeling grief.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tuesday of Holy Week

John's Gospel today tells us: "Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, 'Amen, amen I say to you, one of you will betray me'."

Jesus does not stop Judas from betraying him. He has made us free. Peter will deny him three times the same night. And I? How many times have I betrayed Jesus?

These words of Teresa of Avila echo in my heart as they resonate with my own experience: "Although I have often abandoned you, O Lord, you have never abandoned me. Your hand of love is always outstretched towards me, even when I stubbornly look the other way. And your gentle voice constantly calls me, even when I obstinately refuse to listen."

Jesus told Sister Josefa that it was his chosen ones who wound his Heart!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Monday of Holy Week

During Holy Week, the last week of Lent, we follow Jesus through his Passion and Death to be with him as he gives his life for us. Then we, who enter into his suffering, are able to rejoice with him on Easter Sunday.
Suffering is everywhere; the Heart of Jesus is full of compassion. He knows what wars are doing to this world of ours. He knows about those who are dying of hunger, the homeless, the sick, and he knows the evil that exists in our world. He is with us in all our sufferings.
We have this week to remember what he went through to show us how he loved us and to redeem us. He laid down his life so that we may have life - eternal life.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

Every reading in today's Palm Sunday liturgy speaks powerfully to me.
Today, the people shout, "Blessed in the king who comes in the name of the Lord."
Five days later the people will shout, "Crucify him, crucify him."

The first reading is one of the Suffering Servant passages from Isaiah 53:
Morning after morning
he opened my ear
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
The refrain for the responsorial psalm is "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
Paul's letter to the Philippians tells us how Jesus "humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Luke's Gospel gives a full account of the Passion. Jesus is betrayed by Judas; Peter denies three times that he even knew Jesus; the crowd prefer Barabbas, a murderer to Jesus. Yet, Jesus can pray for those nailing him to the cross: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
The Heart of Jesus will be pierced with a lance, but he is already pierced by our betrayals, denials, lack of love. Love is not loved!