Having come off what may seem to some as a year without a Lent, we now approach the holiest week of the Church year. By a “year without a Lent” I mean all the buzz that has consumed our lives since the announced resignation of now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Since that stunning announcement on February 11th, just two days before Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent has been inundated with news concerning his successor. The world was watching Rome and the Vatican with unprecedented scrutiny. The world’s Cardinals were being assessed as was the Church and the secular media defined what the Church needed to do and the type of Pope they felt was necessary.
Then came the Conclave with scarlet robed Cardinal Bishops and the wild speculation of who was in and who was out. Next, as white smoke billowed out of the Sistine Chapel chimney and the bells of the Basilica tolled with great joy out on the central balcony of St. Peter Basilica walks - St. Francis of Assisi clothed in Papal white - a stunner indeed and a constant reminder that, despite the hopes of some Italian Cardinals, God is still in charge of his Church.
Now, back to Lent. Yes, the purple penitential season of conversion and reform is still upon us and we approach the central event of salvation: the death and resurrection of Christ. In the upcoming celebration of Holy Week, these yearly events continually call us to reflection and celebration of God’s ultimate act of love for all humanity and the world.
No matter what sort of progress, or lack thereof, you feel your Lent has been these next days leading up to Holy Week can be certainly productive. Take some time to prepare through reflection and prayer. Below is a link for the readings of this coming Sunday, Passion (Palm) Sunday. That leads us into the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and glorious Easter Sunday.
As Blessed Pope John Paul II once wrote: “The celebration of Holy Week begins with the “Hosanna!” of Palm Sunday and culminates in the “Crucify Him!” of Good Friday.”
Yet, unlike the recent Papal election we know how this story ends but yet remains in the continuous glow of the risen Christ. May the holiness and mystery of this coming week conform us more deeply to Christ Jesus himself. May our Holy Father Pope Francis be an instrument of his peace.
(P.S. If you feel that Easter has come too quickly this year – never fear. Easter Sunday 2014 will not be until April 20th.)
Readings for Passion (Palm) Sunday: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/032413.cfm
The readings provide a lot to cover, so take your pick as to what speaks to you.