Jesus cried out from the cross,“My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” Have you cried out asking God that same question? If so, God understands. He’s been there.
Jesus knows what it’s like to be misunderstood and not accepted. He knows what it’s like to laugh and cry and grieve. He knows anguish, anger, and unanswered prayer. Jesus knows what it’s like to carry a cross and fall down. He knows what it’s like to always be told you are wrong – that we don’t do it that way, don’t try to change things, and say this not that. He knows what it’s like to fight when the bad guys are winning; when evil and defeat are everywhere; and injustice, hatred, and rejection are commonplace. He’s felt the pain of whips and nails. He knows all of this, so why would He forsake us?
No, God doesn’t forsake us. He understands us. But only through our willingness to experience our own passions are we able to even begin to understand why. Because our passions tell stories of hurt, anger, betrayal, falling down, fear, denial, and needing help to carry our cross. And that’s what we learn from the Passion Story of Jesus.
May we live in the moment and savor our own passions, knowing our cross is not the end of the story. Knowing all the time that God does not promise to wave a magic wand and make all the hurt go away. But he does promise to see us through to the other side. To die to our old self and rise to a new life. To be Born Again. 2000 years ago, they didn’t understand yet what that means. But we do. This Palm Sunday and Good Friday, let’s take time to give our hurts to God, trust Him to see us through them, and let Him change our lives forever.
May God bless our Palm Sunday with great love and give us a steady commitment to enter into this Holy Week with purpose.
Palm Sunday is the day that kicks off the Holiest Week of the Year. We commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We call it Palm Sunday because we receive Palm branches which are then blessed and used in our procession into the Church. We recall Jesus entry into Jerusalem and walk with him in his triumph.
For us, its the start of the week where we walk with Jesus on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. This whole week, we ask for the grace to remain constantly conscious of who Jesus is and what He has done out of love for us.
One thing I always recommend is that each family in our parish commit to lighting a candle and placing it in a very obvious place in our house all week. Each time we see it, we remember that this is not just another week: its a special, holy week. You can even commit to a short prayer whenever you see it. Here’s a few suggestions for a prayer to say:
“Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine” (say 3x)
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”
“Draw me closer to your Sacred Heart, Oh Lord”
“Blessed Mother, walk with me as I walk with you through the Passion of your son”
These are suggestions, obviously, you can make your own prayer or choose another one…anything; just pray!!
Don’t forget our Holy Week Celebrations are at different times and this year, both St. Mary on the Lake and Sacred Heart are doing one Holy Week together.
Beyond our normal celebrations, I’m excited about another opportunity this year:
Apparently, for some time Sacred Heart in Hudson hosted an Ecumenical Prayer Service on Good Friday for all Christians who want to participate. We are doing it again this year! Any who are interested, please come to Sacred Heart at Noon on Good Friday for a brief (45 min?) time of prayer. We will do a Biblical Stations of the Cross, which is a bit different from our usual Stations of the Cross. I think its a great way for all people to see that, Catholic or Protestant, we want to work together for God’s Kingdom. This does not “replace” our Good Friday Service at 3pm, its simply another way we can honor the supreme sacrifice of Our God.
Final note: don’t forget that Easter Sunday schedule is different than our usual Sunday schedule and, when we gather for mass, someone will probably be in your seat. It’s your mission to pray for that person. 🙂
So…lots and lots this coming week: pray for the grace of conversion in each of us. Pray for the grace to enter into His Passion so that we can enter into His Resurrection!
As Christians, our community will come together commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.
Sacred Heart Parish is priviledged to host the Hudson Community Good Friday Service on Friday, March 30 at 12:00 Noon.
Let us all draw together as children of God to bring to mind his great love for us. For this is the great mystery that lead to his sacrifice on the cross and his ultimate victory over sin and death on Easter.
Continuing the 7 Deadly Sins series of Homilies, here is my notes for the pride homily…
Pride is an inordinate esteem of oneself. Prideful people (that would be all of us) desire to be considered better than we actually are.
We show pride in take personal credit for our gifts, forgetting that they came from God, in an over focus on how much we do and/or how well we do it, by minimizing our sin or defects, blowing up the defects of others or dwelling on them.
While not all sins are pride, it can lead to all sorts of sins, notably presumption, ambition, vainglory, boasting, hypocrisy, strife, and disobedience.
• When is the last time you said “I’m wrong”, “I guess I was mistaken” or some such public statement that you weren’t right?
• When was last time that we put aside what we wanted and didn’t complain about it, obsess about it or make sure everyone knew how put out we were?
• When was the last time we thanked someone/praised someone in public?
• Have you ever heard a homily or a message about repentance and hoped “so and so was hearing this”? That’s pride.
• Do you find yourself more conscious of other people’s sins and failing than your own? Pride.
So…what do we do? We embrace humility. So, what is Humility?
Humility does not mean we hate ourself. The word itself comes from the Latin word “humilis” which means “grounded” or even “of the earth”. Humility is a recognition of our place in the world, an acknowledgement of God’s power and might and our smallness. It’s the ability to freely and joyfully express and live the reality that the world does not revolve around us. Humility leads to joy.
Here’s a neat thing CS Lewis wrote about humility:
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
It takes courage to be humble, it means we trust that others see and protect our value as children of God.
It requires modesty to be humble: it means we think of ourselves less often and focus on God and others.
It requires reverence to be humble: honor God and His presence in others.
Here are some exercises that we can do to strengthen our humility and wound our pride.
• Don’t offer your opinion on something
• Serve someone secretly: tell no one and make it your private joy with God
• Next time you walk into your home, your Church or your workplace, look about for a way to serve. See what needs to be done and proceed to do it.
• Remember and laugh about times you have been wrong: “Good homily, Father” and Starbucks
• If someone compliments you and it makes you uncomfortable, don’t say “that’s not true” or demean what they say, instead, rejoice with them in humility by saying thanking them and thanking the Lord.
So. If you are willing to join me in going to war with Pride, I’ll ask you now to make this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, in your name, I renounce Pride. Lord Jesus, in your name, I embrace humility.
Fr. Joe will be leading our parish in a Lenten Holy Hour of Adoration on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00 pm. Fr. Joe will begin the Holy Hour, which will include Eucharistic Adoration and Procession, a homily and time for us to silently reflect on Jesus’ presence in our lives. Come experience the beauty and transformative power of the Holy Eucharist.
The history of the Church is a history of holiness. Not just bishops, priests, deacons, and religious – but each and every one of us. By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to be holy witnesses of Christ in every aspect of our daily life. That’s what it means to be a Christian. Anyone who dares to call themselves a Christian will outwardly carry the marks to identify them as a disciple of Christ. Do YOU carry these marks?
Do you conform yourself to Christ in word and deed? Jesus spoke out against sin and injustice, yet He treated everyone with love and compassion. He worked for the good of everyone by offering His love, care, and healing regardless of their wealth or social status. He had a special place in His heart for the poor, the outcast, the sick, and the grieving.
Do you seek the will of God in everything you do? Do you regularly pray and receive the Sacraments? Because, all of the Sacraments are an abundant source of Grace. Do you allow yourself to be guided by the wisdom of the Church? Do you continuously strive to join your will to God’s will?
Do you devote yourself to God’s glory? God is the ultimate source of the very gifts we have. Do you recognize His glory and might so the good you accomplish is done in His name? Are you humble in doing so?
Do you seek to love your neighbor? God places people in our lives who need our help. Are you vigilant to recognize them, and help them the best you can? Do you take care of those less fortunate or outside your circle of friends?
Do you accept the crosses that inevitably come your way? Suffering in this life is inevitable. And being a Christian does not give you a free pass to avoid suffering. But, Jesus showed us how to give value to our suffering especially when we join our suffering to His. When you offer up your suffering for others, you can experience a liberating transformation which helps you grow closer to God. You can, in essence, be “Born Again”.
God invites us to holiness so we can experience the same happiness on earth that we will in Heaven. His universal call to holiness demands nothing less than to always live with the ultimate goal of Heaven in our hearts. Jesus came into the world to show us how to do just that. How many marks of His disciple do you carry? Deacon John
Adapted from “Introduction to Catholicism for Adults” by Rev. James Socias