Twilight Twitches

msgrfetscherDear Family,
Lent ends this Wednesday, April 13th. Then we enter into the Sacred Triduum, three Holy Days that say it all. This is who we are: the people of the Table, the people of the Cross, the people of the Empty Tomb.

Today, our palms remind us of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to the shouts of Hosanna. (Our palm crosses are made by a church up north that uses the proceeds to support some African missions.)

Reading the Passion account from Luke reminds us of how quickly the Hosannas proclaimed by the people of Jerusalem become Crucify Him of the temple leaders.

We’ve heard it before. We’re inclined to think, “Been there, done that.” But have we?

What do we hear in these days of a COVID restricted life that separates us from each other? Are we left with caution about coming together again? What do these days say about the atrocities of horror being rained upon Ukraine? What do these days say about multiple meaningless shootings in so many parts of the country? Does Crucify Him take on new dimensions for us? It sure does for me. So, what do we do?

Perhaps washing and drying each other’s hands on Thursday will help heal us. Perhaps carrying the Cross on Good Friday as we sing, “Come, let us worship,” will help focus us. Perhaps the new fire of Holy Saturday that enflames the Easter Candle will bring the light of Christ to our troubled hearts.

Reread the previous paragraph, only this time, leave out ‘Perhaps.’ We believe that these Holy Days will heal, focus, and enlighten us!

We cannot do with less, but the good news is that we will not need more. We pray to have our heads engaged and our hearts pumping with a little of the Holy Spirit’s adrenaline. “I will send you the Spirit,” (John 15:26,) seems just right for the occasion.

Over the years it seems to me that we get some our biggest numbers on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Is it because we’re giving something away? That sounds a little snippy and I don’t mean it that way. I just wonder why. I think it is because tangible things help us relate to intangible blessings. Think of your rosary or a favorite statue. They bring us closer to the blessings they represent. (If you want to read a good article about sacramentals, check out <Simply Catholic: What are sacramentals?>)

As the crowds cry out their praises, did they miss some things? For example, what kind of powerful leader would be riding a mere colt? The Pharisees were looking beyond the crowd’s enthusiasm and Jesus seems to have made them nervous. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” His response: “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out.”

By Thursday night, the Pharisees with the help of Judas will have regained control – AT LEAST FOR THE MOMENT. Then comes, as I said at the top, the Empty Tomb.

Every year we hear the story. We know how it ends. We celebrate what we call our salvation.

Still, as we move through the days of this week, hearing and re-embracing our story, we need to be careful not to skip any steps.

He asks us to work through our crosses, too. Don’t believe for one second that He did not mean it when He said, “Father... take this cup away...” There are many times when we face the same kind of challenges, for whatever the reasons. Then He says, “Not as I will it...” He teaches us by example as well as word. His witness is His promise to us. “We shall overcome.”...too! Happy Holy Week.

In our Loving Brother,
sign frjim

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