Tag Archives: Holy Week

20190419 Good Friday

Jim Caviezel, the actor from Mt Vernon who portrayed Jesus Christ in The Passion, made the following statements in a speech at a FOCUS conference.  He talked about the sacrifices he made during his time playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.  

“When I was up there on the Cross, I learned that in His suffering was our redemption.  Remember the servant is no greater than the master.  Each of us must carry our own cross.  There is a price for our faith, for our freedoms.  I have been literally scourged, hit by the whips, crucified, struck by lightning, yes, open heart surgery — that’s what happens after five and a half months of hypothermia.” 

He recounted a moment during the filming of The Passion, when he was wedged under the cross and someone else pulled it the wrong way, causing his shoulder to become dislocated.  He said this footage remains in the final cut of the film and commented that had the production taken place in a studio, we might never have seen such an authentic performance.  “The suffering made my performance, just as it makes our lives.” 

“There was a lot of pain and suffering before the resurrection and your path will be no different.  So embrace your cross and race towards your goal.  I want you to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly profess your faith in public.  The world needs proud warriors, animated by their faith.  Warriors like St. Paul and St. Luke who risk their names and reputations to take their faith, their love for Jesus into the world.” 

What a challenge!  Christ suffered a lot of pain during his trial and while carrying his cross to Calvary.  He suffered even more by his crucifixion.  Yet he willingly accepted his Father’s will in the cup of suffering and death to provide salvation for us. 

Jim Caviezel said that “Each of us must carry our own cross.  There is a price for our faith, for our freedoms”.  What crosses will we endure for our faith?  Many of us have pain and suffering in our lives, many of us ask “Why?”, “Why me?”, “Why my spouse?”, “Why our child?” or “Why our parent?” 

Jim said, “The suffering made my performance, just as it makes our lives.”  Jim emphasized that the suffering makes our faith strong.  That’s difficult to understand and accept when we are suffering.  Jesus endured his Passion and cross to bring us salvation.  We too must endure the suffering and pain of this world to gain the eternal life that Jesus died to obtain for us. 

Jim Caviezel experienced some of the pain that Jesus experienced in his Passion and Crucifixion.  It was not close to the actual pain Jesus felt but it left an impact on Jim that changed his life.  Many of us experience severe physical pain in our lives.  Others experience emotional and mental anguish which is just as difficult.  It’s hard to understand that the pain makes our faith strong when we are living that pain.  But we do not walk life’s journey alone.  Jesus walks with us, to comforts and encourage us, in our pain. 

Jim told the college students at the FOCUS convention: “So embrace your cross and race towards your goal.  I want you to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly profess your faith in public.  The world needs proud warriors, animated by their faith.  Warriors like St. Paul and St. Luke who risk their names and reputations to take their faith, their love for Jesus into the world.” 

I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if I had the zeal for Christ that the early disciples lived.  What would happen in the world if each of us lived our lives with the same fervor of St Paul, St Luke, St John or St Peter?  Each of them endured suffering in their lifetimes.  Peter denied Our Lord three times.  Was he weak?  Yes, he failed.  Are we weak in our suffering?  Yes, we fail.  Will Jesus forgive us like he forgave Peter?  Yes, he will.  His love is grater than any force in the universe. 

As we pray the Stations of the Cross and venerate the Cross where Jesus died, let us meditate on the suffering that Jesus endured to provide salvation for us.  What great love it took to accept his Father’s will and endure such suffering to provide salvation for us.  May we commit to forgive others and help someone else in their suffering as Christ forgives us. 

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20190418 Holy Thursday

It seems that we forget that Jesus was not a Christian; he was a Jew.  The book of Acts tells us that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.  It was a very derogatory name used by unbelievers to identify the group who believed in Christ. 

As a Jew, Jesus was raised by his parents to observe his Jewish faith.  Joseph and Mary taught Jesus and he learned from the Rabbi and leaders.  As a boy Jesus attended classes and practiced his faith just as our youth do today.  He was twelve when Joseph and Mary and Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover as was their custom

Here it is thirty years later, and Jesus is going to Jerusalem to observe the Passover as he has done since he was child.  But it is different this time.  Jesus is going to Jerusalem not as a child being obedient to his parents but as a man completely responsible for his actions.  During the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah discussed with Jesus how he would suffer and die.  He is going to Jerusalem knowing his Passion and Death.  Yet, he still goes to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.  John states “Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.” 

In those days, practically everybody walked to get where they were going.  People wore sandals and a person’s feet would get dirty from the dusty roads.  It was custom for a servant to wash visitor’s feet when they arrived.  The servant had to kneel down and wash the visitor’s feet.  This task was relegated to the newest or worst of the servants. 

Today’s Gospel starts when Jesus and the disciples arrived in the Upper Room.  Jesus takes off his outer garments to assume the role of the servant to wash the disciple’s feet.  When Jesus comes to Peter, Peter asks Jesus if he is going to wash his feet.  Peter is trying to preserve the Master – Disciple relationship.  But Jesus is teaching a different way, a life of service to others.  And Jesus starts by being an example of what he is teaching. 

After Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, he asks them “Do you realize what I have done for you?”  Jesus gives his disciples a mandate when he said, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”  Jesus was telling them more than literally washing each other’s feet.  He was telling them to serve and help each other, to love others more that themselves. 

Tonight, we will literally follow Jesus’ mandate and symbolically wash one another’s foot.  While this is a great symbol of showing how we humble ourselves to serve others, it is more important that we follow the real mission that Jesus mandated.  We must serve others who are in need. 

Holy Cross Parish truly serves the community around us.  The Out Reach Program is unlike any other around the area.  Being known as the Potato Parish is gratitude for what you bring to the Food Banks for miles around. 

While we are an example of service to others as a community, which is important, we also need to serve others in our daily lives.  It’s easy to dislike the neighbor whose children play loud music, play ball in our yard or whose dog comes into our lawn and digs or makes a mess.  Sometimes we even tell our neighbor about the things they do that irritate us.  Will others view us as Christians when we act that way? 

Jesus asks us to accept our neighbors without harsh feelings just the way they are, just the way that Jesus accepts us as we are – with all our faults and sinfulness. 

As we wash each other’s foot this evening, let us remember to take this love that Jesus has for us into our lives and share his love through service to others – even those we may dislike. 

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