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Entering His Gates

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So we've almost made it through 40 days of Lent- the wilderness... now we've entered the passion and walk with our God through the horror and the glory of what will take place this week.  Reflecting on this coming week, there's a sense of awe in how God's plan of salvation unfolds...

 

Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem contrasts the way he will leave Jerusalem on Friday of the same week.  He enters as a king, and leaves broken and dragging the cross that he will die on.  We are reminded of how full of good things this life is, and how defeated and scarred we can become, all along the same road of life's journey.

The intimacy and love that Christ shows for his disciples during the last supper always stuns me a little during Holy week.  I find myself wondering how He could serve and love Judas, knowing he was going to betray that relationship only a few hours later.  And then there's Peter- another betrayal.  Yet God sees the greater purpose of His mission, and gives of himself, first by washing the apostles' feet, forgiving their failings, and even more surprisingly by giving the gifts of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  He knew that they/we didn't deserve that love and those gifts, but He gave them freely.

The passion of Christ leads us to reflect on the meaning of suffering.  In our faith, we believe that Christ's suffering was not in vain, and that His “wrongful conviction”,  torture, humiliation, and eventual death was all for our salvation.  In our lives though, it is hard to see how our suffering can have meaning.  Our society is pleasure-seeking and pain-avoiding, so in the world's view, there is not meaning to suffering.  I heard recently though, a story of a man who knew that he was dying who said that only now that he was ill, could he really slow down and appreciate all that life had to offer, and all of the beauty God had placed in his life.  A phrase from the song “Hosea” stuck with me this Lent: “The wilderness will lead you to your heart, where I will speak”IS that what happens when we find ourselves in the wilderness?  Can we listen for that still small voice when we are bombarded by pain and struggle?  Does our anger and anxiety drown out God's voice?  Can we turn to God for strength and help, rather than being angry at Him?  What is He trying to say to us during our times in the wilderness?  We need to find our hearts in the midst of those times, and be open so that He can speak to us, to help us see the meaning in our suffering.  Even the fact that He has been there with us, through the loneliness, the fear, the doubt, can give us strength.  Jesus' agony in the garden of Gethsemane shows us that He has been there.

When I think about Holy Saturday and how the disciples must have felt during that waiting time, defeated and afraid that all they believed in might be gone, trying to have hope in what Jesus said about the resurrection, fearing for their own lives, grieving the loss of their friend... it reminds me of the mystery of our lives here on earth.  Ask anyone who has struggled with any difficult circumstances, and they'll tell you about fear, pain, wrestling with doubt, grief and trying to find hope in their situation.  Yet our faith tells us that this isn't it- there's more to this life than our earthly existence, and that we won't completely understand the aching and mystery in this life until we are one with our Creator in the next life.  We need God's mercy and grace to help us cope with life's trials, and we need His Holy Spirit to help us see the goodness of this life and to hope in the next.  As we approach Easter, maybe we can ask God to move, even ever so slightly, the stones, the barriers and the walls we have up in our lives, so that His grace and mercy can fill us.  As we receive the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist, maybe we can see His light entering our lives, and His presence in our hearts and in others.  He can roll away the stones in our lives if we ask Him to!

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So as we begin Holy Week and as we relive again the last supper, the crucifixion, waiting in anticipation and hope, and the resurrection of our Saviour, we pray: “Lord Jesus, fill us with hope and peace as we enter Your gates... entering into Your passion, suffering and death, but ultimately into the new life of Your resurrection”.

Julie Anne Hilton

Comments

  • Guest
    Glenn Hilton April 01, 2012

    Thank you Julie Anne for this fine reflection on this week of passion. I trust it it will help me in my focus this week on what Jesus has done and continues to do for me every day as I walk with Him.

  • Guest
    Michelle Gaucher April 02, 2012

    Thank you Julie Anne! This reflection has helped me put my fears in the Lord's hands when lately I know I haven't been doing so. I know that my faith will lead me to know that the Lord will build me up and give me strength when I am weak. I wish you and your wonderful family a blessed Holy Week and a Joyful Easter.

  • Guest
    Patrick Clarke April 02, 2012

    Great blog Julie Anne! Pat

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Guest November 23, 2017

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