This week Holy Week is when the rubber really hits the road, for us who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, The Christ, The God-man from Galilee. Where He has gone, we are to follow. It is gut check time. It is when we put on our grown up pants and get honest. NOT totally honest, but as honest as we can be in the here and now. Fr. Tot taught me a long time ago, "Joe, when you are honest about your dishonesty, you are being, honest." Honesty with ourselves and, so with God and others is progressive. We are annually dipped and dyed in The Paschal Mystery. So we can grow in the knowledge and acceptance, the greatest source of the strengthening, mercy-full Love. We all so desperately cry out for this mercy-full love. Just as a reminder mercy-full, grace-full love, heals, soothes, comforts, strengthens, transfigures, and transforms us. That is why so many books have been written dealing with the dynamic reality of The Paschal Mystery in our lives. It is like dynamite waiting to be ignited and the results are personal to each person.
Our Baptism initiates us into this long life exploratory adventure, which we are challenged to experience and to live. This is such a great supernatural mysterious journey, we can only live it one moment at a time and take it one step at a time. So often on my hikes I look ahead and see the trail rise before me. It looks daunting. Part of me wants to turn around and go back down to whence I came. There is a battle right there on the trail. Thank God I am reminded of previous tough hikes on similar slopes and those hikes I was able to complete. It takes a conscious effort to remind myself of past successes. Why does this happen? It is so simple, I have to face my human limitations not just once or twice, but again and again … This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from "Poverty of Spirit" (Metz), "We are born human and we spend our whole lifetime discovering what human means." Every human action is a window into what it means to be human. How human and how powerless we really are is slowly revealed to us. I have had to learn this hard lesson that the acceptance of reality is ever and always a slower process. We have been given The Paschal Mystery as our guide.
Thank you God for giving us a whole lifetime to journey to practice journeying into the frightening depths of who we really are. It is fear-full and it takes "reckless courage" to begin and make the journey. We thank You, Gracious Lover, that you have made it part of your plan, that on this journey into who we are, we are guided by Your Spirit to discover and encounter Your understanding, consoling, and strengthening Presence. This Presence is ever and always within us. It never goes away, no matter what. Your faith-full-ness Is not dependent on my efforts, but Yours. Where we expect to meet death, and dying in the darkness, we are confounded and confronted with the revelation of your Enlightening and Enlivening Presence. (From out of the darkness a Light shines. Darkness cannot overcome The Light.) This is too much for the unenlightened human mind, at least for this finite, limited, ever so human mind. In Your gracious love for us, You came to our rescue. You have sent you Beloved Son, to be The Light for our journey into darkness. Jesus, Who became The Christ, entered into the fullness of the human condition to the point of suffering and death. Through His total immersion into the lived reality, of being an authentic human being, The God-man revealed in His death-burial-resurrection this great paradox. The paradox is this, in all death and dying there is ALWAYS the emergence of new life. This blesses us with a radical change in the understanding of endings and beginnings. "In every ending are sown the seeds of a new beginning, in every beginning are already sown the seeds of the ending." The Paschal Mystery is not called "the mystery of faith," without good reason. We encounter this mystery all of reality. Seen and unseen.
"Every blessing is a curse, and every curse is a blessing," paradoxes fall into the category of curse/blessing. Paradoxes stretch us. We do not like to be stretched. Stretching leads to newness, and newness has to be adjusted. Our comfort zone is not only threatened, it is smashed to smithereens (Irish for small pieces.) When we get comfortable with this new reality, the pieces fall into a seen accepted newness, what happens? Up she blows!!! This has been my life's experience again and again. As I have grown into the acceptance of this pattern, I have been able to share my story with those who have entered my life. Looking back I am always amazed with this scenario. After I have journeyed through some tough stuff, The Paschal Mystery in all of its Glory, a person or persons are placed in my life who are encountering the stark reality of being human. On a one-to-one I can share my story with those who are suffering...In homilies, I couch what I want to say in such a way as to convey the strength and hope I have been blessed with, without sharing all the details. Sometimes it works and sometimes the observant see through and convey an observation.
The following are some thoughts on The events of Holy week. Reflecting on some of the events that make up The Passion narrative of the historical Jesus, this historical Jesus became The Christ as a result of these said events. In the same way, that Jesus became The Christ, we, too because of our daily, moment to moment journey into our personal passion experiences become authentic Christians. "Contemporary" Christians, specially chosen for this day and age. To enhance the mystery, we become Christian through the secret creative workings of that same Holy Spirit Who brought about The Resurrection of the historical Jesus as The Risen Christ.