Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Luminous Mysteries for Holy Week

I usually pray the Rosary on the way to work in the morning, and these were the Scriptures that came to mind. As so many times before, the Holy Spirit surprised me:

Jesus' Baptism
Shortly before Palm Sunday, James and John asked to sit at the Lord's right and left hands.  His response: "You do not know whay you are asking.  Can you drink of the same cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I?. . .From the cup I drink you shall drink; the bath I am immersed in you shall share..." (Mk.10:38-39).

The Wedding Feast at Cana
As we pass through trial, as we endure pain, suffering, we bring our needs to the Lord - just as Mary did for the bride and groom at Cana.  Jesus' response to Mary: "How does this concern of yours involve me?" (Jn.2:4) evokes that feeling we have that Heaven is closed to our petitions.  In those moments, Mary's advice is best, "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn.2:5).  We have to continue to live with faith in God's complete and total love for us, in fidelity to all He has asked of us.  When speaking about the End, Jesus told the Apostles, "Because of the increase of evil, the love of most will grow cold.  The man who holds out to the end, however, is the one who will see salvation" (Matt.24:12-13).  And like the Blessed Mother we will ultimately see the Lord reverse the situation; the Cross will yield to the Resurrection.  "What you have done is keep the choice wine until now!" (Jn.2:10).

Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom and Call to Repentance
Jesus moved immediately from Simon-Peter's profession of Faith and His appointment of Simon as "Rock," to the teaching that, "The Son of Man must first endure many sufferings, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised on the third day.  WHOEVER WISHES TO BE MY FOLLOWER MUST DENY HIS VERY SELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS EACH DAY, AND FOLLOW IN MY STEPS!" (Lk.9:22-23).  All of the Apostles knew how the carrying of a cross ended.

The Transfiguration
It was "about eight days after" those words that He gave Peter, James, and John a preview of His resurrected glory (Lk.9:28). "His face changed in appearance and his clothes became dazzlingly white," and they heard the Father, "This is my Son, My Chosen One.  LISTEN TO HIM."  What does our Lord say afterward?  "Do not tell anyone of the vision until the Son of Man rises from the dead. . .The Son of Man will suffer. . ." (Mt.17:9,12).

The Institution of the Eucharist
"I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Lk.22:14).  As the Lord did so, John and James drank of The Cup that united them to Jesus' baptism of pain, "This cup is the new covenant in My Blood, which will be shed for you" (Lk.22:20).  When we share the cup we participate in Jesus' offering (1 Cor.10:16); and because of that, with St. Paul we can say, "Even now I find joy in the suffering I endure for you.  In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church" (Col.1:24).

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