The Pastor's Column

Fr. Maina

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 our pain.

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.

Fr. Maina
With you a Christian, for you a priest.

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