Dear Ursuline Family,
During this Holy Week, Christians are given another chance to reflect on and to re-live the last hours of Jesus' life. There are many different expressions of piety which characterize these days, but most are directed to the resurrection, which is, as St. Paul says, the basis of our faith. We will not be able to share in our Lord's resurrection unless we unite ourselves with him in his passion and death.
The account of the Lord's Passion touches and moves our hearts, our faith and our capacity for loving. The contrast between the crowd that acclaims Jesus and the crowd that clamors for the crucifixion and, more generally, the frailness and susceptibility of human hearts, is only one dimension of the Lord's Passion. We find its fullest meaning in the Apostle Paul's words, "Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave. ... He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross." St. Paul also tells us how effective the Son of God's humiliation of himself has been for us, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Thus, it is precisely the humiliation, suffering, and death of the Son of God that shed light on the mystery of God, but also on the mystery of man.
In the Cross of Christ, on the other hand, we come into contact with the true face of God, in the words of Jesus himself who tells us, "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." The face of God does not lose its greatness and mystery, but becomes extraordinarily close and friendly, because it is the face of the One who, in his own Son, shares to the very end even the darkest side of the human condition. Therefore, from the Cross of Christ, strength and the hope of redemption shine out over all human suffering. The Cross of Jesus does not discourage or weaken us. From the Cross springs energy that is ever new.
Let us trust in the crucified and Risen Lord and put our life in his hands, just as he put his own life in the hands of God the Father. As we continue to prepare for Easter let us pray:
Inspire us, like your Apostle, Paul, to forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead, to pursue the goal, the glorious prize, which, by your grace, you help us gain. AMEN.
Yours in Christ,
Gretchen Z. Kane