From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
April 10 – Palm Sunday and Holy Week
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The words reverberate in the air. They are the words of an innocent and suffering person who does not understand and has, for the moment, lost all hope as we listen to them in Psalm 22. They are the final words of our Lord Jesus, as he takes on the full weight of all our sinfulness. We go from our Lord’s jubilant entry into Jerusalem to less than a week later complete despair and darkness. We see a similar wild swing of emotions in our second reading from Philippians as Jesus went from being God to being slave; from being put to death on a cross to be exalted by God the Father, and recognized by all as Lord and God. Indeed, it portrays the greatest humility and the greatest glory both displayed as one. The emotion of this week can overwhelm us. So too, the past two years have been an emotional roller coaster for so many. The words of our Lord Jesus could easily have been the words of many afflicted in so many ways by the pandemic, the challenges of inflation, the social discord in our country and the impact and threat of the war raging in the Ukraine. Like the followers of Jesus at that time, we can be filled with fear and confusion.
Now more than ever, we need to hear in our hearts the answer Jesus gives through his very actions. He says to us, ‘I do not abandon you – I save you, offer you redemption and eternal salvation.’ Jesus gives meaning to the suffering each of us endures – the crosses we must come to bear. It is the ultimate trust – all must be abandoned and turned over to God – control is out of our hands – and at that moment, we come to understand the immense love and mercy of God. The apostles only found their way back by turning to God in patience, in trust and in prayer. Their salvation was in loving one another for they had not yet seen God’s answer – the Resurrection! But the only answers are in patience and trust and prayer. We need to care for one another now more than ever, holding each other in love and trusting in God’s love for us. We do not know the outcome individually or collectively, but we know that God has our backs!
As Vincentians, we encounter others through our ministry who face fear, uncertainty and upheaval in their lives in ways we often can only imagine. Now more than ever we need to be a beacon of hope, reminding them that they matter, that we love them and so does God. We need to help them to find patience, trust in God and prayer. And so often in our attempts to do so, they actually help us to the very same. When we turn our fears over to Him, He walks with us enlightening us and embracing us in the warmth of His love. Am I able to trust in both my ministry and in my life in God’s will? Do I lose sight of being truly faithful in ministry and life, to God and trusting that IN HIS TIME He will respond to our needs and the needs of our neighbors? Do I turn to God in prayer, joining my suffering to that of the suffering servant Jesus, accepting all that he gives me and awaiting the glory of His mercy?
Lord Jesus, guide me in right paths. Give me the patience to listen for your will for myself and for our ministry. Equip me with the right words and actions guided by your Spirit in all that I do. Give me humility that I might never lose sight of your will in all things. Help my unbelief that I may believe and trust that you will not fail me if I keep my eyes and ears and heart totally focused on you. Help my suffering and the suffering of others, that we might accept these crosses and embrace them as you embraced yours. Let our suffering connect ever more fully to that which you endured for us. We pray all of this in your name. Amen