“When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’
When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.” (MK 16: 1-4)
Our questions could be very similar: “who will roll back the stone” (the problem, complication, misfortune, headache, or nightmare) “for us” —when we see the difficulties bigger than our ability to solve them. They saw the obstacle, and they did what was possible for them: they “bought spices so the they might go and anoint him.” They believed that somehow the problem would be solved. When we go to Our Lord and when we really want to be with Him, He will take care of everything in a way we can’t imagine.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’ (Gospel Acclamation)
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (HEB 4: 15-16)
Our Lord knows everything about human nature; He is the One, “Who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” We can always ask Him for help; we can trust Him and “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”
“Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” (JN 13: 1)
Love is not a reward for our outstanding achievements but a sincere gift of self. Our Lord came to proclaim the Good News about God’s love for us and about our relationship with Him and to die for us: “He loved them to the end.” With His love and His grace, we can do the same.
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” (IS 50: 4-5)
This is so important: HE “opens my ear” and the Lord GOD “has given me a well-trained tongue”–not to us and not for our merit. Our Lord takes care of everything. He gives, He opens and He even helps us “to hear as disciples do.” We are His children and disciples.
“Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our errors.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’” (JN 13: 21)
Holy Week—the week of His death–started with the announcement of the betrayal of His disciple, not of an enemy, but of His own apostle. He was rejected by His nation, by people He served, cured, led and inspired. His answer was simple—He loved them and died for them.
“Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father; you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.” (JN 12: 1-2)
Whenever I hear these words: “six days before Passover,” I try to imagine how it was for Our Lord–His last days, last meetings, last words and emotions before He died for us. I know that He was connected with His Father; He came to fulfill His Divine Will, and—for sure—everything was subordinated to His love for the Father and for us.
“Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our faults.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“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.” (PHIL 2: 6-8)
Our Lord came “in human likeness;” “He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross” to redeem us, to protect us and to invite us to heaven. He knows perfectly how it is to be a man (He “[was] found human in appearance”) and knows how to lead us to heaven.
“Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” (JN 11: 45-46)
“Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him” and “some of them” reported to the Pharisees, which resulted in Our Lord’s death. Today we also have believers and persecutors, people who respect love and life and people who don’t. There is always something beyond gentleness, respect, the gift of self and time for us, communication to understand rather than be understood and transparency.
“Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Many came to him and said, ‘John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.’ And many there began to believe in him.” (JN 10: 41-42)
When we come to Him and when we make some efforts to leave our stability and our safe places and go to visit Him, we can expect something similar—“many there began to believe in him.” He came to meet us, to be with us and to love us—all of these need our presence.
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus said to the Jews: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’” (JN 8: 51)
How powerful is His word, able to keep us alive forever. When we open or keep our bibles in our hands, when we take them with us and when we meditate with them, we protect our relationship with Him; we keep His word, and He keeps us.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Gospel Acclamation)