Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Phil 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27, 66
This Sunday begins the saddest 6 days in the life of our savior Jesus Christ and his church. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to tell us in person, God’s loving plan for our life and that of the whole human family. God had a daily personal relationship with Adam and Eve, Gen 3:8-9. Yet they did the one thing God told them not to do. They were deceived by the devil and ate from the tree in the center of the garden. Sin entered the world and continued to spread even to our own day as you see and hear on the daily news.
The second reading tells us that God sent his Son to show us his love, heal and teach us and die to atone for the sins of all humanity. The Son set aside his radiant glory as God and took on himself a complete human nature, except sin and its effects. He was the perfect human being. Jesus spent the three years of his public life showing us how much God loves us. He healed great numbers and taught 120 men and women the values and guidelines of living in God kingdom.
God’s whole plan
After his death on the cross, Jesus rose gloriously from the tomb. He continued to teach his closest followers until he went back to heaven. Shortly after his ascension, God poured out his Holy Spirit of power on those 120 followers and sent them out to bring their good news to the whole world. We are continuing that work.
I like to keep God’s whole plan in my mind and heart, especially during this week. In the past when I thought a lot about all the torture Jesus endured in the scourging, crowning of thorns, crucifixion and death, I would get very depressed. Twice I have been before the exposed Shroud of Turin. I think it is the second greatest miracle we have of Jesus, his face and tortured body. I have studied some about the Shroud. Look on the Internet. I am convinced that no other human would be able to endure his tortures. Jesus was in the tomb one whole day and part of two others. He rose early on Sunday.
Power of forgiveness
Only God himself, in Jesus Christ, could take away all human sins and bring us to new way of life. When we beg forgiveness for our sins, and there are several ways we can do that, some of the merits of Christ’s death “wash away our sins.” I love to hear confessions and apply God forgiveness on persons in the confessional. Such a wonderful power a priest has.
Jesus invites us to follow him into his new life. We shall all have many different sufferings as we live life here but nothing like what Jesus went through. We can unite our sufferings with his, and move more quickly to be with God and all the angels and saints in heavenly glory.
Focus on the Risen Christ
As we follow the liturgies this week, let us remember the greater plan of God and focus on the Risen Jesus Christ, gloriously radiating his love for all of us. He wants to fill us with his radiant light so we can glow in the world brighter with his loving good news. Amen.
If you have followed my requests for extra prayer these last weeks and reflect on the events the past week in Syria, it is not hard to imagine what might happen next. Rather than worrying about that we respond to Mary’s various requests to increase our prayer for world situations. We can be God’s people radiating his faith, hope, love and peace in our daily lives.
Have a blessed week as we await the Easter celebrations with peace and joy.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)