Our Spiritual Springtime
In spite of the rather unseasonable snow on Palm Sunday,
one of the joys of living in this part of the world is that
we experience all four seasons. Springtime seems to be
the most anticipated season of the year. The exhaustion
of the cold winter months, the budding of trees and
flowers, and the increased hours of sunlight orient us to
heightened springtime enjoyments. The celebration of
Easter fits well with this time of the year. Like the
uncertain transition of winter into spring, however, we
approach Easter through the Triduum—the tumultuous
three days of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.
Good Friday reminds us of the pain in our own lives.
Jesus suffering comprised physical, emotional and
psychological pain. He went through the pain of
rejection, the pain of betrayal, the physical pain, and
the most intense pain of all--spiritual pain. He took on
the sins of humankind, all crimes and wrongdoings that
have been committed. His cry from the cross, "My God,
my God why have you forsaken me?” expresses his
spiritual pain. Good Friday shows us that Jesus
understands pain. Every pain we go through, Jesus
understands and he is capable of helping us endure
It is important to note that on Holy Thursday, before he
went through this experience of unspeakable pain, Jesus
gathered his disciples, his friends, in his favorite place
of prayer (Matthew 26:36-39), Gethsemane. Here,
Jesus asked the disciples to be present with him. He goes
on to pray and asks the disciples to join him in prayer.
The story tells us that Jesus did not hide his feelings of
pain. May he teach us that it is okay to disclose our pain.
Holy Thursday and Good Friday encourage us to express
our pain to our closest friends. We are also encouraged
to be present with others when they are in pain. God
and friends were the sources of strength for Jesus at
Gethsemane. May we always count on friends during
our times of pain, and may we always turn to God for
strength, help, and hope.
Significantly, Good Friday reminds us how we benefit
from Jesus’ psychological, physical, emotional, and
spiritual pain. The words, “It is finished,” that Jesus
spoke with his last breath are essential in the faith story
of Christianity. With these words, Jesus tells the Father
and the world that the work of salvation is complete.
He proclaims that all debts of sin are settled and that
all the prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled.
Moreover, Jesus utters even more important words,
the words of love and forgiveness. On the cross, Jesus
gives us a new way to experience God--through love
and mercy. On Good Friday we contemplate the
mystery of God’s unconditional love and mercy that
wipes away every sin we have committed and ever
will commit. Jesus became our best friend on Calvary.
May you always experience Jesus as your friend.
Easter then resembles spring. We spring out of
Good Friday like new creatures with new life and new
relationships. Easter is our spiritual spring. The
Resurrection story begins with Mary Magdalene’s visit
to the tomb while it was still dark. This darkness may
reflect her spiritual darkness and our own. Maybe Mary
Magdalene reminds us of the days when we get up early
in the morning contemplating the worries and woes of the
day. If so, then may she also remind us that if we start
our days by looking for Jesus, we will find him and he
will stay with us all day! Coming to worship today, we
join Mary Magdalene looking for Jesus. The good news
is that we find not a dead body in a cold, dark tomb
but the glorious risen Christ bringing light to our days!
We welcome you to St. Catherine Labouré as you come
to celebrate the good news of Easter and the warmth
and renewed life of Springtime. You are always
welcome here. We pray with you that the risen Christ
may shine the light of God’s love and mercy in your
heart and soul in every way in every season of your life.
May you and your family have a blessed Easter.
With you a Christian, for you a priest.
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