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For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion

I love the Easter Triduum. It has been a long Lent and with Holy Thursday we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Last night there were glimpses of the Easter joy to come. Bells rang as we sang the Gloria. This praise has been absent from the Mass during Lent and I missed it. It was such a welcome relief to once again say, "Glory to God in the Highest!" Flowers also returned to the sanctuary. It was not the lavish display that awaits us on Easter Sunday, but it was more than we have seen for weeks.

But there is an undercurrent to Holy Thursday that tempers our joy. We know that we will eventually arrive at Easter Sunday, but there is only one path, through Good Friday. There is no Resurrection without The Cross. So today, the morning after we joyfully embraced the gifts of the Eucharist and the ordained priesthood that Christ gave us to sustain us, we steel ourselves for The Cross.

Christ carried the wooden cross to Calvary and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have eternal life. We are called to do more than stand by as passive witnesses to the Passion of Christ. We are called to pick up our own crosses and follow Him. Every obstacle, disappointment, illness, insult, injustice, and weakness is a cross.

This does not mean we wallow in our suffering. It does mean that we acknowledge that we live in a fallen world and will experience sin, suffering, and death. It means that in the face of suffering we do not despair because we know that if we faithfully carry the crosses of this temporal world we will have the joy of the Resurrection for all eternity.

It is for this reason that we begin our Divine Mercy devotion on Good Friday. In spite of the crosses we resolutely say, "Jesus, I trust in you." We believe that after Good Friday there will be an Easter Sunday. We embrace our own suffering and join it with the suffering of Christ on the Cross, in atonement for our own sins and the sins of the whole world.

Perhaps today you can join me and thousands of others as we begin the Divine Mercy Novena. Through our prayers let us bring ourselves and others into the embrace of Christ's mercy.


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