GREAT BLESSING of daily Mass is the continuity from one Sunday to the next. Especially as each major season comes to a close, there are premonitions of the Feast and season to come. This is true as Ordinary Time approaches Advent. It is clearly obvious during Advent. Furthermore, the end of the Easter Season brings frequent reminders that Jesus will send another Advocate.
As Holy Week approaches, the tension is palpable. Each reading from John’s Gospel this past week foretells what is to come. It is no longer a secret that many want to kill Him. Many challenge Him. Meanwhile, Jesus speaks with authority of the relationship with His Father: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father has taught me.” (John 8:28)
John’s Gospel then continues: “Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in Him.” However, the converse is also true: Because he spoke this way, many sought to kill Him.
Jesus redeems us all, suffering as one who is fully human, and fully vulnerable. Likewise, the blood of martyrs continues to spill today in our world. In a recent statement honoring the “Martyrs of Charity”, the USCCB describes that because they lived this way—the way of divine mercy—these four Sisters of Charity were put to death. The statement begins:
“Caring for the aging and dying is an act of love and mercy. Giving totally of oneself to serve the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters is an act of courageous faith. Thus, it is always a great sorrow when such acts of mercy lead to martyrdom.”
You can read the full statement here.
What we celebrate during Holy Week is not only a reminder of what Jesus suffered, it is a reminder that our Redeemer lives today as witnessed by the suffering of so many.
As the tension in the world grows, so does our faith, so does Jesus’ active presence in our lives. So must our sung prayer be that much more directed toward Jesus and His Father who sent him.
Soli Deo gloria