Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.

Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

It’s time to rest with God……to rest in God. This hour…..this moment… in God.

Be Still

Good-bye to all goals, projects, structures, situations, feelings, thoughts….I am in meditation, in contemplation, resting in God, abiding in God.

I am at the center, the core…the warm, the gentle, the quiet, the still, the forceful center, the core of my being. I am resting in God….the source of life and power and energy!

Grace and Blessing and power and strength flow from “resting in God”, from abiding in God………all cares are graced, blessed, purified, made holy………

Let me slow down… silence…in stillness…and come to a “stand still” and to a “sit still”….and to just being here and now without having to accomplish something….

O God, I have come now into the quietness and stillness of your presence, so that out of this moment, I may take with me a quiet serenity, which will last me through the rough and smooth of this day’s life. Many hours of the day are waiting to be filled a hundred ways with a hundred prayers. But, right now, at this very moment, I am at peace. I walk with you, God. I sit with you, God. I run with you, God. Thank you.

Abide in this Sacred Presence for some time before you move on!

Prayerfully, reflectively read the following……Dwell on the thoughts that speak to you in this moment……

We are now coming to the close of the season of Lent as we enter into Holy Week. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and we will remember Jesus entering Jerusalem to face rejection and eventual death. He moved, with courage, into hostile territory. He entered a city which killed its prophets and did not know how to receive the things that are for its own good, a city that did not know how to receive blessings and gifts and grace…………..

They greeted him as they would greet a pilgrim: “Blessed is he who enters in the name of the Lord” (Ps. 118:26). And they shouted “Hosanna!”. “Hosanna” means “Save now”. It was a cry for help, which a people in distress addressed to their king or their god. “Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord” (Ps.118:25).

Hosanna in the highest means, let even the angels in the highest of heavens cry unto God, “save now”. It is essentially an oppressed people’s cry to their savior and king for deliverance. These hosannas of Palm Sunday will become the cries of “crucify him, crucify him!”

We will remember Jesus being betrayed, tried, judged, condemned and crucified. We will remember him dying on a cross. We will remember Jesus giving himself totally in life and in death.

We will remember the cross, sign of shame and punishment, becoming the symbol of sacrifice, healing, unconditional love, total giving, redemption and salvation.

We will remember and relive the passion, the cross and the death of Jesus. Reflect on how you share in the passion and cross of Jesus.

Pray for courage and wisdom to face difficult situations.

Remember those who have heavy burden to carry.

Remember the innocent, especially children and the helpless who have to suffer without support. Pray for those who have to live in hostile situations.

What do you need to do to move into and face difficult situations?

Palm Sunday is also called “Passion Sunday”. We often think of the passion of Jesus as the suffering of Jesus. But, the real passion of Jesus was the “will of His Father”, to fulfill the mission for which he came. He came for us, for our redemption. So, His passion was us…His passion was you and me, our redemption.

What does the “passion” of Jesus mean to you? How do you share in that Passion? And do you have a passion? What are you passionate about? Is there anything you are passionate about? Is your passion integrated with the passion of Jesus?

On Holy Thursday, we remember Jesus having his last supper with his disciples. Great things happened during this meal. He had washed the feet of his disciples and called them to follow his example in gracious and self-sacrificing service. Listen to him calling you!

Try to imagine this scene. You are sitting at the table with Jesus and his friends on the night before he died. A confusing sorrow overshadows you. Yet a mysterious hope has settled in your heart.

Remember Jesus bending his knees before his disciples with a bowl of water, to wash their feet…take a moment…. imagine him with an apron around his waist and a bowl of water in his hands, on his knees, before you……

God in an apron with a bowl of water ready to wash your feet!!!

We would feel more comfortable, if we could trade places….We wouldn’t mind kneeling before Jesus to wash his feet…We can’t let him love that much! But he said: You can’t belong with me, unless I wash your feet….I need to do this for you and I love to do this for you!!!

This is a gift that he offers us. We must accept this gift of “washing”, the cleansing, forgiving, healing and transforming power of “foot-washing”…..and we must do this for one another….be “foot-washers”…..

Remember: the Christian image is that of mother and child. However much the child may wash himself, the mother finally washes the child and attends to areas the child has not been able to reach……Mother knows best!

Accept the gift of love in this “foot-washing” and share it with others. Remember the times you have refused this gift!

Take a moment….remember: you and I stand in constant need of foot washing!

On Good Friday, we remember Jesus being betrayed, tried, judged, condemned and crucified (Mark 14:1 – 15:47). We remember him dying on a cross. We remember Jesus giving himself totally in life and in death…….obedient unto death on the cross.

In the cross, we meet Jesus, the one who took away the sins and overcame death in dying for us.

We also remember those who suffer, those with heavy burdens to carry and those who have no one to help them carry their burdens.

We see much more in this cross. We see the infinite value of human life – we see Jesus dying out of love for humanity, we see redemption, we see glory – we see the one who left the glory of heavenly home and entered into our life and into our death.

In the cross we see hope, we encounter love. The cross tells us that in the love of God nothing is lost.

We remember the cross, the sign of shame and punishment, becoming the symbol of sacrifice, healing, unconditional love, total giving, redemption and salvation. We remember and relive the passion, the cross and the death of Jesus.

God is found in the most unexpected places and situations. No one expected to find the Messiah on the cross. But that is just the way God revealed the power of His generous, unconditional, unconquerable, benevolent love.

To the world Jesus was condemned and finished. To the believer, Jesus being lifted on the cross is the Victory of Grace and the Ultimate revelation of God as LOVE. The death of Jesus reveals the victory of Grace and the power of God’s Love. It reveals God as LOVE.

The one lifted on the cross reveals glory and
not shame. The creator of the world comes to the world…….the creator of the earth walks on the earth which he created… falls to the earth…prostrates on the earth…goes deep into the earth… uses mud to heal…… walks into places where he was rejected…..

The creator of the flesh becomes flesh…….. makes his abode in the flesh. The creator of the tree hangs on the tree and gives up his life for those who rejected him. Acting out of love to the extent of dying on a cross is a mystery hard to grasp….We carry our crosses carefully, trying to make sure they don’t take too much out of us…

Our Lenten journey will bring us to Easter – to new life, to new beginnings, to new presence. We will celebrate our call to be an Easter People, a People of the Resurrection, a people transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus, a people who must continue to journey in faith, in hope and in love……….We must move on and meet Jesus, alive, where we are, now, at this point in our history………

The journey that we began in ashes on Ash Wednesday brings us to the fire of Easter. Unlike the fire of terror, we encounter a purifying, life-creating fire that gives light to a dark and despairing world. It is the fire that lights the Paschal candle which proclaims: “the light of Christ”. It is the fire that brings us into the light of Christ and lights up our own path……….

Let us make this week a truly HOLY WEEK – a week of Holiness – of Truth, of Justice, of Peace and of Integrity.

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs