Thought for the Week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

March 28-April 3, 2021

 

We start a very solemn week of mourning our sins, which crucified Jesus. In the garden Jesus beheld the sins of the world for which he was choosing to die. He wept over this sinful world for whom he came to show his great love for each and every one. Scripture says that he even sweat blood, so great was his sorrow and the anticipation of the agony he was to undergo. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus teaches us how to pray. He first asks that this trial be taken away, but then he says, “Not my will, but yours be done.” He also addresses God as Abba, an endearment of a child, who trusts and believes that he is loved.

 

Someplace I read a story of a man who was visiting a foreign country and stopped in a church to pray.

He noticed something odd about the crucifix. As he examined it further, he saw that there were no nails

holding the body of Christ to the Cross. When he asked about its significance, he was told that Jesus

freely chose to hang on the cross for love of us.

 

We see Jesus riding a donkey at the beginning and end of his life. As a baby in his mother’s womb, he rode a donkey to Bethlehem. As a young child, he fled to Egypt on a donkey to escape death at the hands of Herod. In the Passion we see him enter Jerusalem on a donkey headed toward his death with jubilation and the fanfare of palms and cloaks thrown upon the ground. Again the Jewish leaders and a Roman official will condemn him. There is no escape this time. The donkey is also symbolic of a humble entry of peace into Jerusalem, instead of a warrior on a horse.

 

This Palm/Passion Sunday we need to ask ourselves, if we are fickle like the people of the first century, who cried “Hosanna” one day and “Crucify him” the next? In our busy lives sometimes we find ourselves following the crowd and forget to humble ourselves in the face of God’s infinite love. Matthew 21: 1-10

 

Jesus celebrates the Passover with his apostles and disciples. At this meal of sharing and companionship Jesus gives an everlasting gift of his body and blood through the bread and the wine. He says, “This is my body and blood. Do this in my memory…” The operative words are “is” and “do.” It takes profound faith to believe that Jesus is present in the appearances of bread and wine. The Church has been repeating this action for centuries at Jesus’ request. Matthew 26:17-29

 

Was it jealousy, fear or ignorance on the part of those Jewish leaders of the first century, who condemned

Jesus? Did they really believe that Jesus was a threat to their way of life? Gamaliel, a great leader in the Sanhedrin and a teacher of St. Paul, warned his companions, when they were later dealing with Jesus’ followers after the Resurrection. “I advise you to have nothing to do with these men (apostles). Leave them alone.  If their project or activity is from men, it will destroy itself. If, on the other hand, it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it and you may indeed find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5: 36-39   You might wonder where he was, when Jesus was being condemned. Maybe he learned a lesson from that experience. However, we cannot be too harsh with these people, since it is all of our sins that condemned Jesus to death.

 

What a wonderful surprise awaited the apostles and disciples on Sunday. After such sorrow and feelings of abandonment and disappointment, women brought the astounding news that Jesus was alive.

We can imagine what went through their minds, “Here are some delusional women overcome by sorry.”

What a surprise it was for them to find out that it was all true, when Jesus appeared to them. Matthew 28: 1-10

 

May this week of reflection on the Passion of Jesus and the ultimate result of his Resurrection, bring great joy to our hearts and hope for a better future, as we walk humbly in Jesus’ footsteps,

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director