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Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Every Holy Week, I am taken back to my childhood and my Catholic grade school and Church life, a life from the late 1950s to early 1960s. Our school year, really, our daily and weekly activities, were guided by the Church calendar. At that time in my history, much of the secular world seemed to follow the same schedule, the same activities, the same practices. As we moved further into Holy Week, the pace of life slowed. On Good Friday, my memory is that financial institutions closed, and the world seemed to draw within and “shut off”. The priests wore black that day, marking Christ’s death on The Cross. National TV newscasts showed the Pope walking the Stations of the Cross, or kneeling before the Crucifix. Holy Saturday was a day in a holding pattern, at least as I remember it.
Easter Sunday was a truly joyous day, a day for rejoicing that Christ had risen from the dead. It seemed that every church on every block was filled with celebrants, every flower had bloomed, every family was celebrating with togetherness and hands across the dinner table.
The world was one in Christ’s Triumph.
There is Palm Sunday, and there is the Triduum. And there is still the joy of being together in celebration on Easter morning. But there is baseball, occasionally, the NCAA Final Four, other worldly distractions. Our society is, in so many ways, uber-pluralistic. As the Church, we welcome guests, more than a few of whom haven’t been to mass since Christmas. And, we especially think of the “nones”, those who have no faith to profess, no impetus to participate, whatever the reason. We pray for them.
Christ came to Jerusalem for all of us, to celebrate the Last Supper, to be taken to the Sanhedrin to be judged, and to be sent by Pilate to be crucified. And, yes, to rise for all of us, perhaps, especially, for those who do not see their value in His love.
This Holy Week, as we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, perhaps, it is time to reach out and invite those looking in from afar, for whatever their reason, whatever their hurt, whatever their doubt, whatever their fear. Their humanness, and ours, is why Christ was born one of us, and why He died for us. All are welcome to rejoice in His Obedience. Even unto death, and his rising, leading us all to New Life.
A Blessed Triduum. A Joyous and Fulfilled Easter to you.