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World Youth Day Message 2020: Arise!
The diocesan World Youth Day is held every year on Palm Sunday. This year Pope Francis invites all the youth of the world to reflect on this message: Arise!
The story comes to us from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus was walking in a town and came by a funeral procession of a young person. He saw the grief of the mother, and approached the coffin and said, “young man, arise!” The young person got up, and the crowd was amazed (Luke 7: 11-17).
We live in extraordinary times. Times of great suffering and loss. Times of sorrow and regret. Times of anxiety and confusion.
We may not understand these times we live in, and we can count the things we have lost along the way. In a sense, so much in our lives has died, and yes, we have suffered. But God is God of the living, not of the dead. Through death comes new life, and that is what the Jesus’ life shows us.
Young people, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to be holy. Do not be afraid to be holy today. Jesus noticed the grief of the mother who lost her child. See each other and encounter each other. Don’t just pass each other by but take the time to encounter; to see.
Know that Jesus sees you. The young man did not raise himself. Jesus passed by and gave his touch to the coffin. Give to Jesus that which has died within and allow his touch to heal.
Then rise with him.
We are not here mistakenly. We are here for a reason. God has placed us in this extraordinary time to be a witness to what God is doing. We have an extraordinary God who lives in us, and is roaring like a lion in our hearts. He calls us to rise. Rise up from our grief and loss, anxiety and confusion, because He is creating something new.
Young people, arise!
- Mr. Patulot
Yesterday was a great celebration of a victorious king triumphantly entering his city. However, yesterday was a great irony of sorts because the readings today remind us that God’s justice and “light of the nations” does not come from “crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.” We spend the next 6 days of this week descending into darkness as our king, our light and our salvation, is beaten, humiliated, and killed. What does that mean for us?
‘Verse before the Gospel’ today may seem odd: “Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our faults.” In fact, this is the perfect intro to the Gospel reading, and the week!
The Gospel reading is the real entry into this week. Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with costly oils, both as an anointed king but also in mourning of his soon-to-be burial. Then, with abject humility and intimacy, Mary dries Jesus’ feet with her hair. These gestures of praise, sacrifice, mourning, and humility are not understood by Judas, but we do.
This is exactly what we are doing this week. Mary’s gesture is entering into this week’s darkness properly – with total love. We give everything for our king knowing he loved us first, he suffered and died for us, we have failed to live up to such a king, we are so undeserving of him, and he still loves us beyond our understanding.
In truth, the light and warmth goes out because our faults have driven it out; this week we turn again to Jesus, calling to mind our every fault, breaking ourselves open, and giving him our everything. This is the true entry into this week, instead of palms, we lay down ourselves at the feet of Jesus.
In our humility, mourning, and sacrifice, we praise Jesus. As Leonard Cohen beautifully puts it: “love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”
- Mr. Prociv
Today’s Gospel reading recalls an intense conversation Jesus had with his disciples while “reclining at table”. Jesus is predicting that one of his friends will betray him and another will deny him. Of course, the disciples are in disbelief. We all know how this story goes. Jesus will be betrayed by Judas, arrested, and then Peter will deny he knows Jesus three times before that cock crows.
In this time of uncertainty, it is easy to get sucked into the 24-hour news cycle. Many of us are hunkered down trying not to be exposed to Covid-19, but what are we doing with our time? Are we giving time to Jesus, to journey with him this week? Or are we frantic in our work, household chores, and worry?
Take some time today to just be quiet and still. How might you journey with Jesus today? In this week that is most holy, may we orient ourselves toward our friend Jesus who is suffering with us today.
- Ms. Farrell
Yes, I am here for you!
As we reflect on the events of Holy Week, my heart turns towards the faith of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the fourth Station of the Cross, Jesus sees his mother’s face and at that very moment their eyes meet. The encounter is intimate, personal, and painful for that is real enduring love.
As a mother, I know Mary’s heart is breaking. Yet, she has always been there for Jesus. As a young girl, she showed up with her full-hearted yes to angel Gabriel. Now, Jesus a young man carrying his cross to his death. People are shouting words that hurt; others are wailing in pain. Yet, Mary shows up.
She is there for her son Jesus. With all her heart she says yes, I am here for you. This yes is different for it represents her strong faith to be there for her son as he suffers on the cross and fulfills the promise of the resurrection.
Let us always remember Mary’s love for the faithful followers of her son, Jesus. During these uncertain times, turn to Mary for her light and love. Hear her voice saying, Yes, I am here for you.
In this time of quarantine, it is hard to believe that we will be spending Holy Week at home. Out of the entire week, the one day that is hard for me to imagine not being able to go to church, is Good Friday. It is the most difficult day in the passion of our Lord. It is the day in which the trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus took place. A somber day for me every year as I contemplate Jesus' sacrifice for us and the enormity of its meaning. It is a day when I usually try to understand how the son of God could endure all that suffering for me.
Pick up your cross and follow me! Yet my cross seems so insignificant, so small, so petty compared to his. Not that I want a bigger one, mind you, but I am always amazed at the immensity of Jesus' cross. Here is a favorite story that helps me to understand.
A story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. One of his companions was astonished at his generosity and commented, "Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar's need. Why give him gold?" Alexander responded in royal fashion, "Copper coins would suit the beggar's need, but gold coins suit Alexander's giving."
My puny cross fits my suffering. I struggle with it, I complain about it, I try to get out of it, and yet it is preparing me for heaven. Jesus' cross is fitting for God, and it redeemed the entire world. He endured it quietly, and lovingly. If Jesus can endure in that way, such a cross for me, for us, can we not better endure the crosses we are given?
With renewed vigor, with patience, resilience, kindness and hope, let us endure our sufferings with our eyes set on Easter. Resurrection will come for us as well if we follow Jesus, and when that day comes, we will be taken up to heaven to spend eternity with our Lord, who loved us more than we will ever understand.
One of the traditional devotions of Lent but specially of Good Friday, is the praying of the Stations of the Cross. A devotion that has been around since the 5th century. I encourage you to pray the stations slowly. Use your imagination, place yourself there, and your troubles will seem insignificant.
- Mr. Palacian
What an unusual Holy Saturday many of us are experiencing today. Some might call Covid-19 apocalyptic, while others may say it is an opportunity for our world of science to shine (may they create a vaccine to help save lives!). For others it has been a quick lesson in homeschooling and mastering technology. For others, it has been a forced slow down to reflect, ponder, and hopefully rest with God.
At my home parish, our liturgy committee, liturgical ministers, musicians, our priest, and deacon spend months planning a meaningful Triduum as tonight’s celebration is a culmination of our entire faith tradition as Catholics! And now we are at home, finding meaning together with our families, or by ourselves.
I can’t help but feel connected to the early followers of Jesus, who after his death met in house churches to share stories, remember, and pray together. These meetings were often secret and hidden from view because of the threats the early Christians faced. I hear Matthew’s words differently today, as they are filled with so much hope! “Do not be afraid!” Jesus’ rising from the dead gives us hope, always, however today it has so much more meaning during this global pandemic.
Just as we might begin our Easter Triduum with a bonfire and the lighting of candles, may our forced seclusion offer us the opportunity to make this Easter Triduum more memorable for our families by lighting a candle in the window, opening up our computers to join a virtual Mass, and by praying in steadfast joy for Jesus’ resurrection.
- Ms. Farrell