Holy Week has begun – an invitation and an opportunity to be one with Jesus, Our Lord, as we remember and welcome anew His gift of Himself for our lives.
At the same time we think of Him with love, it would not be a surprise if we asked: Do I personally mean anything to God?
Does God really care about me, love me in spite of my faults, my past, my weaknesses?
Walter Burkhardt, an American Jesuit, reminds us: “The reason we ask these questions is because the God of our education sits there like a Buddha, impassive, unmoved, hard as flint. We really don’t know our God.” We learn who God is truly and more clearly when we engage in the mystery of this week.
Walter Burkhardt continues to give courage and direction to us as we face Jesus’ gift of self:
“The cross is the most dramatic answer to our questions.
The cross says God is passionate about each of us.
The cross says God is passionate about me.”
Let’s make no mistake in assessing the death of Jesus on the cross. It is not an accidental, mistaken act of violence. The death of Jesus is a deliberate choice by those who reject Him totally. God did not choose Jesus’ death on the cross. His enemies did. Yet from the divine viewpoint, we see in the death of Jesus, God’s overwhelming, passionate love for each of us, without exception. “There is no greater love than this – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15.13)” We are God’s friends. He died for us.
During this week, let’s linger over, think of, be ready to be moved by this one thought: “Jesus is passionate about me.” When we think this way, we are coming closer to knowing God as God really is: the lover of all human beings, past, present and to come.
We can be sure of this: As we present ourselves at the liturgies of the holiest days of the year, we belong to the crucified one, men and women loved by God, the Father of Jesus, redeemed by our brother and Lord Jesus through the cross, and called by the Holy Spirit to likewise love, witness and serve.
This is Jesus’ week of unutterable generosity.
This is our week to affirm that we belong at the foot of His cross.
~ Sister Joan Sobala