Peace and Good in Christ!
I extend heartfelt blessings and prayers for all our dear friends this Holy Week and Easter. I have a few thoughts this year:
1) We live in a secular world that seems to have gone crazy. I have never seen our nation, or our world this divided, polarized, and filled with hate in my entire lifetime. Some of this is just the natural unfolding of secular socio/political developments, but part of it is extraordinary.
There are even similar struggles in the Church. But these have come and gone before. The Church is always protected by Jesus Christ and the power of the keys given to Peter.
It is precisely at this time that we must look to a Lord and a kingdom that is completely stable regardless of the rising and falling of political and social tides in the secular world. When I get discouraged I remember my own theme: All Things Are Possible With God!
Holy Week and Easter are the high point of our liturgical year. They help point us to a kingdom that is eternal, stable, and filled with love, joy, and peace. This is true especially because it is precisely the high point of the tension and conflict between Jesus Christ and the religious and secular authorities of his own day. We celebrate victory and peace precisely at a time when Jesus seemed to experience conflict and defeat. But it led to resurrection! They prove that even in the midst of this tension, conflict, and seeming defeat, Jesus brings us a victory and a peace that the world simply cannot bring. I pray that you and I find this victory and peace of Jesus during our celebration of Holy Week and Easter this year.
2) We are just back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This year Holy Week and Easter have a special significance as the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the Holy Land bring home in profoundly heightened way the Reality of the Incarnation of the Logos in Jesus Christ. His story, His gospel, and His Passion are not just tales with mythical, mere theological significance, or even vague spiritual interpretations. They are rooted squarely in a historical reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in a very real place that has been venerated and maintained since His walk among us, and still exists today. It is a powerful pilgrimage indeed.
The beautiful simplicity of the majority of Jesus's ministry in the pastoral setting of the Galilee, and it's contrast to the religious and political hustle and bustle of Jerusalem is most poignant for us this year. How easily I see him preaching, teaching, and working miracles in the pastoral setting of shepherd, farmers, and fishermen in the Galilee. It is a breath of fresh air amidst the stale secular troubles of our secular world.
Likewise, how painful it is for me to picture him being superficially hailed as Messiah, teaching in the temple, healing at the pools of Bethesda and Siloam, and being rejected amidst the calloused hustle and bustle of Jerusalem. I see him seeking quiet refuge in the garden of Gethsemane, instituting the Eucharist in the Upper Room, been tried before Herod and Pilot, walking the Way of the Cross, dying on Calvary and rising from the Holy Sepulcher. All of this is profoundly real to me and those who made this Pilgrimage this year.
It can be real for you too. Holy Week and Easter are a time to relive the events of the Passion of Jesus Christ in as real a way as possible liturgically. It helps set the stage for the Sacrament in which all of this is brought from 2,000 years ago into the now in every Eucharist as a personal encounter with the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. It moves His Presence from a mere theology or memory into a personal encounter with Jesus st every Eucharist. Holy Week and Easter help us relive this in a special liturgical way every year.
So, I extend a heartfelt blessings and prayers this Holy Week, and Easter for all who are our dear friends, partners and supporters, and community members. I believe the world needs Jesus more than ever at this hour. I pray that your Holy Week and Easter bring you into a profound personal encounter with Jesus Christ. From that renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ we can bring an answer that the world can never bring without God.
John Michael Talbot
General Minister / Founder
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity
at Little Portion Hermitage