Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Fix your Gaze on Jesus
In this Holy Week God gives us the grace to relive the event of our salvation: with Jesus, and in Jesus, we pass from death to life.
Archbishop Twal concluded his meditation, affirming that the adventure now continues, or rather, it now begins again, all new!
Archbishop Fouad Twal affirmed this in his Easter message, published on his patriarchate's Web site.
In this Holy Week, he said, "God gives us the grace to relive the event of our salvation: with Jesus, and in Jesus, we pass from death to life, we strip off the old man in order to clothe ourselves with the new man."
This week is not simply about historical events, the archbishop emphasized, but rather "in these feasts we find ourselves on the inside of the drama, the same drama that is being played out within us."
"We are participants in the mystery of salvation," he affirmed, "and the mystery of salvation is accomplished in us!"
The prelate explained, "This is because we recognize ourselves very well in each one of the characters of the Pascal event: in Jesus and his suffering, those same sufferings that each one of us must undergo in the course of our lives: hunger, betrayal, exhaustion, injustice."
We recognize ourselves in Peter, he noted, "so impulsive and generous, but ever so vulnerable; in Judas and the apostles; in Pilate and in the chief priests, who judge and strike out without mercy; in the crowd that now is cheering and then roaring in its hate; in the Virgin Mary, whose heart is pierced by a sword, but who accompanies Jesus along his way of the cross and stays by his side in the most dramatic moments in a total and confident abandonment."
"In the course of our lives," he added, "we are in turn each one of these characters."
Way of the Cross
Archbishop Twal pointed out that "the One who attracts us most of all, who touches us, moves us and transforms what is inside of us, this is Jesus the Christ."
"During all this Holy Week," he urged, "we must never allow ourselves to take our eyes off of him."
The prelate described the scene: "Here we have Jesus, the Messiah, the one who we cheered so much just a few days ago on Palm Sunday, who staggers out of Pilate's house bearing upon his shoulders the heavy cross.
"His path moves through those narrow, winding and steep streets of Jerusalem. We follow this scene, but from a distance; in this way no one notices our presence.
"We are too afraid of ending up like him, suffering and dying. The soldiers shout and strike the Lord in order to stir up within him the last dregs of energy that he has left. […]
"Three times he falls, but struggles up again and just barely manages to continue on his 'via crucis.' He finally arrives at Golgotha, and there is crucified between two criminals."
Meditating on Christ's crucifixion, the archbishop affirmed, "Our hearts are torn between compassion and revulsion."
"How things have turned around," he noted, "that this Lord here, who so many times showed his power in words, lets these men have their way with him and stands there mute 'like a sheep before its shearers.'"
He continued: "Seeing Jesus on the cross really puts our faith to the test. He performed so many signs during his public ministry, but this time, where is the sign? What can be the meaning of all this? […]
"Then he expires. He is dead. It is finished."
Archbishop Twal continued the meditation with a reflection on Holy Saturday: "It is all emptiness. The Lord is dead. Our fondest hopes have taken flight and departed."
We gather with the apostles, he observed, "and we brood over our sadness, our disappointment but also our shame and our guilt at not having been up to the task."
Mary is our only comfort, affirmed the prelate, who affirmed that she suffers, but is also at peace.
He continued: "She invites us to believe, to hope against all hope. Jesus can neither be deceived nor deceive us. The truth will come to light. […]
"This is the day of 'why's,' but still no answer comes. Still there is Mary whose mother's heart beats with an unutterable premonition. Mary believes with her whole heart, with her whole soul and with all her strength. We do as she does."
The archbishop turned his reflection to Resurrection Sunday, saying: Here are Peter and John racing to the tomb. We follow them.
"Our hearts are pounding in our chests. What has happened?"
"There is the shroud," he said, "empty on the inside, in the very same place where the corpse had been lain; there is the cloth that surrounded the Lord's head, collapsed in on itself."
"The Lord, who was dead, could he be alive?" he added.
We hurry to Galilee, the prelate affirmed, and the Lord is there! He continued: "Yes, it is really him! He is different and yet the same. Yes, it is really us! The same, and yet so different. […] Yes, Christ is risen!"
Archbishop Twal concluded his meditation, affirming that "the adventure now continues," or rather, "it now begins again, all new!" "Salvation has been accomplished and must be proclaimed to all men," he said. "And participating in our joy," he noted, "Jesus says to each one: 'I am with you always, until the end of the age.'"
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- Missing The Point of Easter
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- Easter: Through the Octave and Beyond!
- The Happy Priest on Easter: He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear
- Holy Saturday: 'Make Sure He's Dead'
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Good Friday: The Church Born From the Wounded Side of Christ Pauses at the Cross
- Reflection on the Nature of Sin for Good Friday
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Alex Basile - Catholic Online, 4/10/2015
Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made ...Continue Reading
Fr. James Farfaglia - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted. When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of ...Continue Reading
Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
While Easter is a Solemnity and an Octave Feast, it is also a 50-day journey until Pentecost. We continue to remember his resurrection with special devotion. Saint Augustine shares this ...Continue Reading
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2015
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »