Today we celebrate the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem ... Holy Week begins. During Holy Week we are called to walk with Jesus. To walk in His footsteps on the journey He took to The Cross. We are called to be by His side, to see what He saw, what He endured for our sake, through His eyes, through His immense Love for us. It's a week filled with special masses, prayers, sacrifices, etc. but it's so much more.
We have spent the previous weeks of Lent reflecting within, trying to change, looking at ourselves. Now, this Holy Week, we look at Jesus. We focus our attention on Him. We don't just read about His passion and death this week, we enter into it. Today, He enters Jerusalem, and we go with Him.
"The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.' And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked 'Who is this?' And the crowds replied, 'This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee"(Matthew 21: 8-11).
The people are very excited to see Jesus. They heard all these awesome stories about Him, how He heals the sick and performs miracles, how He speaks powerful words of life and love and forgiveness ...and now He's here, right in front of them. He is greeted so passionately and is praised and loved by the people. We are these people. We put ourselves there this week, at every step.
Today we shout "Hosanna!" Friday we will shout "Crucify Him!" But Jesus already knows this. Jesus enters Jerusalem amidst the shouts of honor and praise knowing that these same people will turn on Him and scream for His death in a few days ... and He loves us anyway. He dies for us anyway. He knows how fickle our humanity is. He knows how weak we really are, how selfish we really are, and He knows we won't always appreciate the sacrifice He's about to make for us. But He makes it anyway. God Loves us. And this week, He proves it!
So let's reflect today on how often we turn on Christ too. How often are we "Christian" when things are going well but abandon Christ when things don't go our way? As long as we see the miracles and answered prayers we Praise Him, but if not? How strong is our faith really? When the cross comes into our lives, what do we do?
Let's pray in a new way today. Let's look at Holy Week in a new Light. Let's see ourselves among the people and ask ourselves the really deep questions our hearts need answered. Let's grow in love and faith. When we enter into Holy Week with our whole heart, we enter into Christ's passion and death, and in the process of appreciating Him, find amazing graces for ourselves.
May God Bless you and everyone near and dear to you this Holy Week. In Jesus' name. Amen.
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
There is a great spiritual benefit to us when we reflect on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. "The Stations of the Cross" or "The Way of the Cross" is a scriptural, meditative prayer in which we call to mind certain moments of suffering that Jesus endured. We consider each station, perhaps reflect on a scripture passage, pray, and think about what Jesus went through for us. Then we move on to the next station and do the same. We open our hearts to God, and allow His grace to enter as we pray. It's a powerful prayer approach and a very peaceful experience, as we contemplate God's tremendous Love for us.
During Lent it is especially appropriate to pray this way and reflect on the Cross Jesus carried for us. If you're not familiar with the Stations of the Cross, I have listed each one below with a particular scripture that we can reflect on. These are only my suggested scriptures. Simply pray in your own way. What's more important is that we open our hearts and spend this time with Jesus, reflecting on the path He walked for our salvation.
We begin each station by saying, "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world." Let's ask God The Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and fill our hearts as we think about each one.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death (Mark 14:61-64).
Second Station: Jesus carries His Cross (John 19:14-16).
Third Station: Jesus falls the first time (Psalm 140:5-6).
Fourth Station: Jesus meets His mother (John 19:25-27).
Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross (Mk 15:21).
Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (Sirach 6:14).
Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time (Isaiah 53:4-7).
Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-28) and (Lam 1:12).
Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time (Isaiah 53:12).
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His clothes (Psalm 22:8).
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross (Luke 23:33-43 and Psalm 22:16-19).
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross (Lk 23:44-46) (John 19:28-30) (Romans 5:19).
The Thirteenth Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross (John 19:31-34).
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb (Matt 27:59-60).
Widely accepted as The Fifteenth Station is of course The RESURRECTION, where we celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death when Jesus rises from the grave on Easter.
Praying in a reflective way using scripture draws us closer to Christ and opens our hearts to be changed.
Through this prayer, we can grow in our relationship with Jesus who loves us - to death.
God truly does Love us, and He has already proven it. Let's be open to His redemptive Love in a New Way,
New Way Today
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