6th Week of Lent: Palm Sunday and Holy Week

holy weekHoly Week is a week about transformation, reverence and death bringing forth new life. The evolutionary process itself has shown that it moves from death to new life.  Stars died to release carbon to nurture planets.

Stimulated by the celebrations of Holy Week we are called and animated to embrace and deepen our relationships both in the community and with colleagues and friends.  This is a way of recognizing the great love God has for us, especially in the person of Jesus, the Christ, who gave of himself totally so that we can love one another to the fullest degree possible.

loyal friendsJoan Chittister OSB reminds us of the importance of relationships when she states that life is not about things, it is about relationships.  She says, “It is the hands we go on holding in our hearts at the end that define the kind of life we have led.  …our relationships show us the face of God on Earth. When the relationships we forge as we go through life begin to disappear, our own life changes.  We know then what it is to be abandoned, to be a little less impervious to feeling than we thought we were.  Now it is not things we need, it is understanding we crave.  It is understanding that draws us out of ourselves into the earthenware vessel of new life.” (The Gift of Years, p. 79)

  1. What made these relationships significant?  What were the gifts in the relationship?  The challenges?  The losses?  What meaning did these relationships bring to your life?  What do you think it brought to the other person?
  2. What needs my immediate attention concerning my relationships with others?
  3. In what ways do I show that I reverence relationships?  What is the connection between reverencing other people and my reference for God?

For reflection

As they approached Jerusalem, entering Beth-Phage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent off two disciples with the instructions, “Go into the village straight ahead of you, and immediately you will find a tethered donkey with her colt standing beside her.  Untie them and lead them back to me.  If anyone questions you, say “The Rabbi needs them.” Then they will let them go at once.  This came about to fulfill what was said through the prophet: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Your sovereign comes to you without display, riding on a donkey, on a colt – the foal of a beast of burden.’”  So the disciples went off and did what Jesus had ordered.  They brought the donkey and her colt, and after they laid their cloaks on the animals, Jesus mounted and rode toward the city.  Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while some began to cut branches from the trees and lay them along the path.  The crowds – those who went in front of Jesus and those who followed – were all shouting, “Hosanna to the Heir to the House of David!  Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Most High!  Hosanna in the highest!”  Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred to its depths, demanding, “Who is this?” and the crowd kept answering, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee!”
Matt 21: 1-11

This is the first of two “journeys” Jesus takes during this holy week as his understanding of the “reign of God” evolves. He hears voices proclaiming the coming of that reign.

Whose are the voices I hear on my journey?

What is my response to those who affirm and encourage? to those who are critical?

How do I sift and sort to recognize what is truth?

What does this sacred journey call forth from me? from us?

With whom will I/will we travel?

Loss and Grief

When we lose a loved one, a part of us dies. Grieving holds power over us. Part of our energy to be compassionate dies.  The beauty of life as we had known it disappears. We are tempted to “live in the past” by imagining its glory. Or we may be tempted to isolate ourselves to avoid further hurt and loss.

How have you been changed by the death of a loved one?

In what ways have you experienced compassion at the time of death?  Or been compassionate to others?

Where have you experienced the sacred in walking life’s journey with a dear friend?

How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues and your friends?