THE TIMES OF OUR LIVES
Life is celebration and joy, coupled with suffering and sadness. To expect one and not the other is unrealistic. It is possible that in a person's life, one area may be highlighted more than another because of circumstances, opportunity, health, economics, etc. Trying to understand, accept and respond to the challenges of success, or lack of it, makes a constant demand on us. Looking for an explanation may be even more difficult than enduring the experience. Certain things just happen, often beyond our control, and how we cope with the challenge tests "the quality of our metal."
Jesus had his share of celebration, joy and then suffering. While on earth he achieved greatness, worked miracles and was recognized as Messiah. Then, because of jealousy, he was marked for extinction, or so his opponents thought. Those who rejected his views connived to have him sentenced to torture and eventual death. Small-minded as they were, thinking that he was just another radical prone to upset their security, they sought to eliminate him. How presumptuous? They thought they could remove the Son of God from his mission of salvation!
Palm Sunday recalls the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This represents the public acknowledgment, though fleeting, of his stature on earth. The miracle worker, the inspirer, the hope-giver, the Savior, the Messiah was publicly receiving the 'ticker-tape' recognition (with palms) he deserved. How incongruous to only five days later when the acknowledgment Jesus received was humiliation, denial, rejection, suffering, and death. The human element had gone full cycle, from high to low, and all because of the willingness of God's son to accept such despicable behavior out of love for us.
The Palm Sundays of our lives will be many. Recognition, fame, fortune, and power will be ours at various times in life. Many of these accolades will be well deserved and enduring. However, they will only last for what might be thought of as the "blinking of an eye" in the context of eternity. The Good Fridays of life will occur randomly and sometimes unexpectedly. Suffering and anxiety may be our companions during these days; so we need to be prepared. We do, however, have the ability to respond lovingly to the Lord, in which case our sufferings and fears will be our most generous prayerful offerings. May this Holy Week be a defining moment in our lives. Let us prayerfully rededicate ourselves to the love and service of God by how we live our lives, celebrating our successes with Christ-like grace and accepting our trials with prayerful dignity.
APRIL - NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. While dioceses work year-round to prevent abuse, a special emphasis is placed on the importance of learning how to protect the vulnerable from this evil this month. Together, for the next twenty-five days, let's pray that the vulnerable are protected from abuse and that survivors of abuse may be accompanied on their paths to healing.
Abuse Hotline Numbers: Statewide (DCF) Abuse Hotline 1-800-96-ABUSE; Archdiocesan Abuse Hotline 1-866-80-ABUSE
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Prayer for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.