Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Week Called "Holy"

It's already Palm Sunday in lands east of North America. Each year Lent seems to be a long haul of 40 long days. Then it ends up zooming by faster than any "zoom zoom" commercial on TV.

Palm Sunday's liturgy plunges us deep into the heart of the Paschal Mystery--that's the name the Church calls the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paschal relates to "Passover." It is the new and lasting Passover when Christ's blood saved each of us from the effects of sin. Instead of the blood of a lamb being sprinkled on door posts, as happened at the first Passover when the Hebrew people--the Israelites--were preparing to leave the slavery of Egypt for the freedom of the Promised Land, we were and are saved by the blood of Christ shed for us on Calvary. Easter then is our celebration of Christ's saving event.

There are good movies to help us recall these events: Jesus of Nazareth, and Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" are among them.

Then there are other movies that have "Christ Figures" in them. By that I mean characters who give their lives that others may live. "Ladder 49" with Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta as firemen shows how some people do give their lives that others may live. Kevin Costner in "The Guardian" portrays a Coast Guard veteran rescue swimmer who seems extremely tough on new recruits. Yet, he never asked anything from the young men and women he trained which he had never gone through himself. I don't want to give away the end of the movie, so I won't tell you how "The Guardian" ends. Just bring Kleenex when you get the DVD. The Kevin Costner film uses real Coast Guard rescue personnel in addition to real actors. These last two movies are good for any time of year, since being Christ-like is a 24/7 operation, 365 days of the year.

I wish you a good Holy Week: time for inner quiet; outer quiet too; prayer; reading that reminds us of what Christ did for you and me; time for Church; time for reconciliation and confession; time for peace. One gentleman who frequents our book centre told me last week, "What counts is that God loves us, and that we love him in return." That's a great start for a Holy Week reflection.

Let's pray for each other to make this the holiest of Holy Weeks, so our Easter will truly be a Happy Easter.
The crucifix depicted here is in the lower church at the basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii, Italy.

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