Monday, March 23, 2015

Be Moved By Holy Week

Dear Friends,

How often on newscasts do we see the report of a procession, parade or march at some place of heroism or death or in some public place as a mark of human solidarity. These masses of  people, moving in an unrehearsed  rhythm  all take place for a reason. They draw attention to an event, celebrate an occasion, demonstrate support for a cause or in allegiance to a person or an ideal. Wherever the Pope travels, masses of people gather. So too,  after  the murders at the Charlie Hebdo office, in Ferguson, and  Staten Island. Last week, cities broke ranks with winter by marching in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. We marched in Selma 50 years after Bloody Sunday.

The purpose of a parade, procession or march is to persuade the bystander to move in his or her own heart from being a mere onlooker to be touched by what one sees and hears. “Come with us," we plead wordlessly.

Next Sunday we will recall the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem – a procession that ultimately leads to the cross. Then, on Holy Thursday, we process with Jesus from the upper room and the last supper to a vigil, where we will wait with him and pray, in remembrance of his own prayer before being arrested. That night, we process with Jesus to his trials. We witness the total self- gift of the One whose love is never ending and whose promise is that we are never alone.

On Good Friday, a cross is carried in procession through our streets and through our churches, a reminder that Jesus carried his own cross to death.  Can there be a more poignant, dramatic or challenging sign of the depth of God’s love?

On Holy Saturday night, at the Easter Vigil, a lighted candle is carried in procession up the same aisle where the day before the cross had been carried. Now the candle proclaims for all to see that God had indeed triumphed over evil. Darkness and death have been destroyed.

To the casual observer, this week makes little sense. Nor will it ever make sense, if we only stand by, watching unmoved. The Liturgies of Holy Week invite us to walk with Jesus during these astounding days when the generosity of God toward us human beings is revealed so dramatically. As we walk with Him and one another, we attempt to understand what Jesus was feeling and thinking during these hours.

To do so is to be caught up in the experience of death on the cross as it becomes a way to life. We can imagine Jesus saying  to us “Wonder with me that what looks like defeat is really victory, and that my horizon, apparently limited like yours, is shattered, once and for all.” And incredibly, the processions, parades and marches of our own life comes into focus. We see the year that’s been, the people who have come and gone, the shape of our lives made more in conformity with that of Jesus, or not. We can’t see any of it without walking alongside Jesus to all those places and experiences which made his death a worthy preparation for His being raised up.

Together, let us step off and be on our way.

~Sister Joan Sobala

PS.   Get yourself ready for Holy week..join us for one of these Fresh Wind Programs!

Monday, March 23   7 to 8:30 pm
Guided by Sister Joan Sobala
Topic: The Passion According to Mark: An evening’s study.

Saturday, March 28   10 to 2:00 pm
Guided by Sister Mary Louise Heffernan
Topic: Living the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.  Find out how scripture, music, art and poetry can help us prepare for these central days.
Donation:    $35  
Preregistration required. Call Sr. Mary Louise at 585 641.8403