As we enter this final week of Lent, the holiest of the liturgical year, our two Gospel passages for this Sunday bombard us with activity: untying, helping, riding, spreading, praising, proclaiming, rebuking; eating, drinking, sharing, debating, arguing, telling, professing; praying, sleeping, kissing, betraying, striking, healing, arresting; following, denying, remembering, weeping; beating, questioning, charging, sending, mocking, accusing, shouting; carrying, lamenting, crying, crucifying, forgiving, watching, sneering; offering, calling, believing, promising, commending, dying; asking, taking, wrapping, laying, following, seeing, preparing, resting.
This up-and-down movement is enough to exhaust me, to make me ache with incredulity, grief, remorse.
The readings invited us to ponder: what would I have been doing? What would I have been holding, carrying on those critical days? The colt’s tether? A palm branch? A cloak? A shout? A sneer?
Bread? The cup? An argument? A protest? A prayer? Drops of blood? A closed eye? A grieving heart?
A kiss? A sword? A club? A tear? A broken heart?
A whip? A question? An insistence? Silence?
A scream? A cross beam? A child? A rebuke? Paradise? Darkness? A cry? A final breath? A witness? A plan? The body? A cloth? Spices? Oils? A heavy heart?
And what do I hold today in my service with and for Christ in persons who are poor?
In 1617, St. Vincent urged the Ladies in the Charity of Châtillon-Les-Dombes to “ … bring the patient a picture of the Crucifixion, … place [it] where he can see it so that, by looking at it sometimes, he may reflect on what the Son of God suffered for him.” (Coste, Vol. 13b, #126, page 12) Perhaps, holding, gazing and praying with a crucifix this week may bless and strengthen us as well.
PRAYER: Gentle, loving Jesus, You emptied Yourself becoming human like us and then gave Your all that we might live. We, in turn, offer our deep thanks and our sincere efforts to walk with our poor sisters and brothers. Free us to accompany You during this Holy Week and teach us Your way of generous, unconditional kindness and care. We ask all this in Your name through Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
TRY THIS TODAY: Sit in God’s presence, with a crucifix, and ask:
- As a Lady of Charity, what am I doing, holding in this story of the last week of Jesus’ life?
- What do I experience now during these heartrending final days of Lent?
- How do all these poignant events impact my accompaniment of persons living in poverty?
Prepared for the Ladies of Charity USA by Sr. Carol Schumer, DC