With just one week remaining of the Lenten Journey, I encourage all parishioners to continue with fasting, prayer time (private as well as together with your church family) and works of charity! It takes a lot of effort to maintain these disciplines over seven weeks, but at this point, I hope we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Holy Week services begin Palm Sunday evening, Apr. 9 at 6 pm, and just a few days later we begin the remembrance of the awesome Passion Week of Christ, culminating in our Lord’s trial, crucifixion and resurrection from the dead.
The last week of our Lord’s life on earth begins with his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. Although we remember Palm Sunday with the tremendous welcome that Jesus received as He entered Jerusalem, his disciples were not really looking forward to going with him. Fr. Tom Hopko, in his book, The Lenten Spring, discusses this very apprehensive time for the apostles.
“When the disciples were going up to Jerusalem with Jesus, it is recorded that they were amazed and afraid. Their amazement, no doubt, was from the strange and marvelous character of what was happening. Their fear was certainly from Jesus’ predictions about His fate, soon to be fulfilled, for they knew that the Lord’s enemies were really seeking to kill Him.” (The Lenten Spring, pg 159)
Fear and amazement; two related yet very different emotions. Do we feel the same as we approach the end of Great Lent and the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection? Is our Lenten Journey really bringing us to a place of greater understanding, and greater love for Christ, and for one another?
Fr. Tom continues:
“Whatever happens during the forty days of Great Lent, whether we think, according to our limited understanding, that we have done well, or whether we learn once more that bitter but most blessed lesson of our incapacity to accomplish even the smallest of our good intentions, the result if we are yet the least bit alive will be the same every year: we go up to Jerusalem with Jesus, like His very first disciples, amazed and afraid! We are filled with wonder and awe at what the Lord brings to pass for the sake of our salvation. If this be so (and may the Lord grant it!), the lenten spring (journey) will not have shone forth upon us in vain.” (The Lenten Spring, pg 160)
We can’t expect perfection in this life, not from ourselves and not from others. We can only try, learn from the past, and pray for the strength, patience, perseverance and compassion to do better tomorrow.
May the risen Lord fill your hearts and minds with peace and joy during this sacred season.