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Holy Week Reflection: Following, pondering, and beginning again in love

This year’s Lenten journey began with Sister Joan Marie Stelman’s challenging Reflection* encouraging us, as we follow Jesus, to “take time to look into our hearts and our lives to see if we have replaced God with something else,” and then with God’s help, to engage in “cleaning out our priorities and putting love of God and love of our neighbor before all else.”

As Holy Week begins, our “looking,” “cleaning out” and “putting love” journey continues as Jesus enters Jerusalem. Jesus’ journey deepens in ways both serious and troubling. We look for him in our hearts, ponder and follow.

We see Jesus on Palm Sunday being proclaimed King by joyful throngs of common people, and plotted against by religious leaders. On Holy Thursday, he shares a communion meal with his disciples, and washes their feet. Later, he is betrayed and arrested like a criminal.

The “rubber is meeting the road” for Jesus, as his journey is nearing its destination and fulfillment, is about to come to a screeching halt. We look. Ponder. And follow.

All the way to Good Friday as Jesus suffers and dies for the love of all. With the hymn writer, we see the depths of God’s love and in gratitude, reply, “What wondrous love is this, O my soul?”

As Sister shared in her Reflection, this is a hope-filled spiritual journey – from the bondage of false gods into the freedom “of being [the] loving, healthy human beings” God creates and loves us into being.

Surprisingly for the disciples, and for us, the “screeching halt” was not the bitter end, but the loving beginning. Our journey continues. We wait now, hearts full of expectation and hope, for the celebration of joy and love and new life in Easter.

Rev. J. Scott Cartwright, Benedictine director, spiritual care


*See Sister Joan Marie’s Lenten Reflection: Biblical challenges provoke thoughtful reflection, raise hope.