If you’re anything like me, you struggled a bit with your Lenten commitment. I find when I reflect upon my last many Lents, I very much value the experience of giving up something that makes me more aware of how much I need the Lord’s strength and courage in my daily life. I also realize how like every other Christian, I have a vocation, a “call” to keep getting up and keep “fighting the good fight” in the battle God’s will versus my own. It offers me consolation to know that the Merciful Lord is patient with me. But in my own reflection, I am also aware and mindful of how serious things get when the Lord prepares Himself to enter Jerusalem as He does today. We are going to hear and experience the worst of the greatest act of love in human history. Things are going to be brutal, graphic, horrific and yet the Lord Himself will remain on course and committed to the love He came into the world that we might receive, that we often and in many ways TO THIS VERY DAY – reject!
One of the blessings I very much appreciate as a priest (one available for us all) is that my week can be a very intense week of prayer and journey with the Lord. I plan to savour every moment of the week in the liturgies, especially at Mass this week. It is my own desire to really commit myself to being with Jesus this week, because I know that I need a very vivid reminder of the Gift and Mystery of the Cross which I know will also nourish the Gift and Mystery of the Priesthood and my hope is that it will strengthen me in my own vocation. As a matter of fact, I have every hope and complete faith that it will.
I hope and pray this for others too. This powerful week of commitment, sacrifice, of surrender to the Will of God ought to be a journey of deep reflection upon our own vocation too. For myself as a priest, I always look forward to the Chrism Mass; the Mass where the Archbishop blesses the oils used for anointing throughout the year, but also where the Diocesan Priest renews his priestly promises he made at ordination. I inevitably spent time reflecting upon my own priestly ministry, on the commitments I made, on the ways I have been strong and even reflecting upon the areas I have been week. This year, we are inviting some of our men discerning in the archdiocese to share in that experience. It’s a great time for the seminarians to be present too, as they pray the Lord guides them along the right path.
On Passion Sunday, the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Jesus enters into the part of His earthly journey He came into the world for. This is where we must seek to enter more deeply into our faith and prepare ourselves in our own commitment to our Catholic Christian faith. If we are going to be true disciples of Christ, we have to really embrace this week and allow it to transform us. If we do, we have our passion too, but this week we find strength and courage in the Lord’s Passion. May God bless you.