Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday of Holy Week

IS 50:4-9A

PS 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 AND 33-34

MT 26:14-25

The readings for the day can be found here.

 

The long Lent ends.  The Holy Triduum begins.  Depending on the “disciplines” we chose to enter more completely into Lent, to celebrate Lent more fully, as Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us in his message for Lent, we might be the “weary” whom Isaiah speaks of in our first reading.

Throughout these forty days, we’ve increasingly prayed, fasted and given alms, all for the purpose not of deprivation, but for reconciliation, to come closer to God, to follow God more closely, more completely.

Today, as we leave Lent on this eve of Holy Thursday, we can recall and review our early promises to God, and our progress as sons and daughters of God.  We can even review our resistance to hearing and following God.

I pray your Lent has been productive for all the right reasons—that whatever you might have given up profited you, and whatever you chose to increase, prayer, fasting or almsgiving, drew you more freely to God, less-encumbered by the things we think we want, and more open to those things we know we need.

Lent calls us to increased generosity, to freedom from ourselves for God and for each other, to a clearer understanding of who we are in the larger scheme of things—our faith, our society, our own lives.

A succinct statement of this generosity, paired with the generosity of Jesus, Himself, comes from St. Ignatius, and his Prayer for Generosity.  Let this take us into the Holy Triduum, as our heartfelt prayer ending one season, and entering a great mystery.

St. Ignatius’ Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, in their reflections on the mystery of Lent, students, faculty and staff have told their stories about the Scripture readings of the days, the mystery of the Passion of Jesus, in their own lives, their struggles and triumphs with the generosity we’re called to manifest.  These can all be found on the Campus Ministry web site, and daily, in Newslink.

As we enter the Triduum, we pray for ourselves and for the men and women in our SLU community and all over the world who will enter the Church through RCIA this season.

Have a blessed Holy Week, a blessed Easter…

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REFLECTION ON THE READINGS

Today is the last full day of Lent; we can pray it will be our best day of Lent.  Today, in Holy Week, is the same as any day, and yet completely different.  Every week we’re called to be holy, like Jesus is holy…and Jesus calls us to that holiness, every day, every week.

This week, today before Holy Thursday, the Lord calls us to a deeper holiness, speaking a word that will rouse them. Is 50:4

As men and women of faith, then, we may  all be buffeted and betrayed, beaten and spit at, in one way or another, but we also all live with the example of Jesus, Who suffered all of that and more.  We can be holy, faith tells us…we can be roused by the Word made flesh among us, seeing all of those trials, and the daily trials of everyday life, as opportunities to help us become more holy, more faithful followers, real disciples, as Pope Francis recently calls us to be.

You know the story: Jesus is betrayed by one of His disciples, one of His faithful friends and followers.  He knew this would happen.

Some contemporary Judas may be reading this.  This week, each of them has the opportunity to hear, and to repent, and to love Jesus, or to refuse to hear the words that will rouse them, thus to leave Jesus, forever.  Holy week gives us the choice, the same choice throughout the ages.  The risk for all of us is that Jesus will rouse us with much more than we might want to hear, more than what we’ve refused to hear, and we will want to turn against Him, to betray Him further.  But He will still speak the truth; He will still call us; He will still welcome us.  He will still protect us.

Holy Week is a week of opportunity for those who listen, or a week of tragedy for those who do not.  The stakes are high.  Our world begs to be roused with the truth Jesus speaks.

Today is the last full day of Lent; may it be your best day of Lent.

As Pope Francis invites us, let us care for, and serve, one another.

Have a blessed Easter.  May God bless you all.

Lawrence Biondi, SJ is the President of Saint Louis University.

 

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