IT’s the last four days of Lent 2014. Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), then it’s Good Friday and Holy Saturday (when Christendom is in vigil, waiting for the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus and the Great Joy of Easter).
We invite readers to reflect on the following thoughts of St. Josemaria Escriva, the “saint of the ordinary.” The following paragraphs are from his homily “Christ’s Death is the Christian’s Life” which he gave on Good Friday, April 16, 1960.
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The tragedy of the passion brings to fulfillment our own life and the whole of human history. We can’t let Holy Week be just a kind of commemoration. It means contemplating the mystery of Jesus Christ as something which continues to work in our souls. The Christian is obliged to be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself.
Everything we do can make us holy
Through baptism all of us have been made priests of our lives, “to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Everything we do can be an expression of our obedience to God’s will and so perpetuate the mission of the Godman.
Once we realize this, we are immediately reminded of our wretchedness and our personal failings. But they should not dishearten us; we should not become pessimistic and put our ideals aside. Our Lord is calling us, in our present state, to share his life and make an effort to be holy. I know holiness can sound like an empty word. Too many people think it is unattainable, something to do with ascetical theology—but not a real goal for them, a living reality. The first Christians didn’t think that way. They often used the word “saints” to describe each other in a very natural manner: “greetings to all the saints”; “my greetings to every one of the saints in Jesus Christ.”
A chance to understand more deeply the love of God
Take a look now at Calvary. Jesus has died [it’s Good Friday] and there is as yet no sign of his glorious triumph. It is a good time to examine how much we really want to live as Christians, to be holy. Here is our chance to react against our weaknesses with an act of faith. We can trust in God and resolve to put love into the things we do each day. The experience of sin should lead us to sorrow. We should make a more mature and deeper decision to be faithful and truly identify ourselves with Christ, persevering, no matter what it costs, in the priestly mission that he has given every single one of his disciples. That mission should spur us on to be the salt and light of the world.
So, in thinking about Christ’s death, we find ourselves invited to take a good hard look at our everyday activities and be serious about the faith we profess. Holy Week cannot be a kind of “religious interlude,” time taken out from a life which is completely caught up in human affairs. It must be an opportunity to understand more profoundly the love of God, so that we’ll be able to show that love to other people through what we do and say.