Ready or not, here comes Holy Week. These days lead up to the celebration of the central mysteries of our faith, namely, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Blessed Lord. These events along with the Ascension and the sending forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, form the heart and soul of the mission of the church. We speak about this as the Paschal Mystery and we remember it in its glory and entirety at each celebration of the Holy Mass.
As we enter Holy Week, we begin with Passion Sunday. We listen to the narrative of the Gospel that specifically calls to mind the saving action of Jesus on the cross. There is a deliberate attempt on the part of our Mother, the church, to rouse sentiments of fellowship with our Savior and for us to think and ponder deeply the impact of his sacred action and our appropriate and correct response in our daily living and spiritual formation.
One of the most significant and important elements to consider, especially in our current social milieu, is the sublime poverty of our Blessed Savior. Jesus begins his public ministry by announcing, during the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” His public ministry concludes in a moment when he tells a criminal dying on a cross next to him: “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
What happens in the middle of those two moments – Jesus’ public ministry – leads us to an important meditation for Holy Week and some important consideration for all the days of our lives centering on Jesus’ example of simplicity and poverty: being with Jesus in heaven. Jesus lived a life of detachment from this world’s tendency of acquisition. A true sense of Gospel poverty, as Jesus taught it, is not found in one’s bank account or lack of one, but in the poverty of one’s soul.
In other words one must not be possessed by one’s possessions. Possessions come in many forms. One can possess and may be possessed by money; one can possess and may be possessed by one’s position or title; and, one can possess and may be possessed by one’s knowledge or by status. In all these ways Jesus showed by his example and true detachment that one does not find true satisfaction in this world only, but in striving to make oneself open to the will of God in this world. Do not be possessed by your possessions.
The events of Holy Week made this abundantly clear, and the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead guarantees the proof of his action. Everything Jesus taught comes to its apex at the cross. It is expressed in a complete offering of perfect love to his Father. Jesus is completely dispossessed on the cross. He has no money, no social status and no worldly position. He only has his love for his Father and he trusts that love completely.
For us who follow him, it can be no different. Faith in the love that our Father has for us makes every other love, every other possession shallow by comparison. It is Holy Week. Consider seriously the action of the Lord Jesus and its impact on what matters in your life. We must celebrate and live the Paschal Mystery until Jesus comes again in glory.
Blessed Easter! See you and be with you at Mass!