Reflection by Aidan Troy
Holy Week is with us again. It is especially sacred for all Christians. It is also God’s gift to all Creation. At St Joseph’s, Holy Week is “our” very special week because of the gift of the Charism of St Paul of the Cross, our Father and Founder. Today, we begin to live more intensively God’s work of salvation in Jesus, both to remember and to renew.
How you see this holy week would be interesting to know. I find that the liturgies of this week “sweep” me along at a pace that is hard to sustain. Added to this, I find the “content” of Holy Week so rich that it takes a lot of prayer and some patience to digest it all. It is a great week as well as being a Holy Week.
Today, we leave our ‘comfort zone’ to take our first small steps with Jesus towards Jerusalem. There was a growing awareness which Jesus shared with the Apostles that they were on the way there and it was not going to be pleasant. This was not the scenario the Apostles wanted. In fact, a ‘jockeying’ for positions at the right and left hand of the Lord broke out on the way there. This can’t have been easy for Jesus as His heart was beating with love and fear.
Not only did those around Jesus not “get it”, how often I too haven’t “got it”? The revelation of the life and death of Jesus has been known for centuries. I have been around for many decades. Yet, I am still struggling during Holy Week 2019 to fall into step with Jesus on the way to Calvary. My temptation is to look at Jesus from the outside and even shed tears for Him. The truth is that I am called to be part of this world making its journey to Calvary.
We are blessed at St Joseph’s by having the charism of Saint Paul of the Cross to inspire and support us through Holy Week. Paul added of ‘the Cross’ to his name because it consumed him. He knew that the Cross never gets lighter or becomes more pleasant to carry.
The Passion of Jesus continues in the lives of some people whom we see on the front pages of the daily newspaper and on news bulletin. Not only can we look at what is happening but should ask what can we do? A few parishioners some years ago asked about feeding homeless who are often short of food. This has grown into a powerful force for good in our city and is a blessing on our parish. ACWO based at St Joseph’s have an outreach to various groups and people seriously in need. A parishioner regularly donates restaurant tickets for the hungry. People come daily to our door in need of help. Their eyes light up when they receive a ticket for food. On Holy Thursday you donate money for the poor which is spent on the urgent needs of poor families and individuals. Parishioners in a quiet and silent way help people who are in need. The Lenten Project each year shows St Joseph’s reaching out to the ‘crucified’ of the world. This touches the Crucified One.
But that is not all. St Paul of the Cross saw in a life of prayer a call to compare our manner of living with what is required by the Gospel. “We should continually ask ourselves whether our prayer life effectively influences our personal life, our community life, and our apostolic service.” [Passionist Constitutions, 40]
Saint Paul of the Cross challenges us to find the unity of life by looking at the Cross and in the same glance seeing around us those suffering. There is one Christ in Heaven and on earth.
At the Last Judgement, God will ask me if I saw Him down and out before my eyes or miss Him by thinking that he could only be in ‘holy’ places. Don’t get me wrong –the Eucharist is central for all believers and makes us whom we receive. What a pity if I don’t see the same Jesus on the streets, in prison, in hospital, depressed, lonely and lost. As I reach out to any of these, I touch the body of Christ, the same Jesus whom I receive in the Eucharist. How blessed are we having this daily contact?