Palm Sunday has arrived. Things are moving and changing so quickly and yet time seems to be moving so slowly. We go from our Lord’s jubilant entry into Jerusalem to less than a week later hearing the cries of “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Our second reading from Philippians is iconic. In short order it recounts that Jesus went from being God to being a slave; from being put to death on a cross to being 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 events, the meaning, and the necessary response can overwhelm us. The followers of Jesus at that time, including the apostles, were filled with fear, lost their way for a time, and only found their way back by turning to God in patience, in trust, and in prayer. For it did not make sense and they had no answers. Their salvation was in loving one another for they had not yet seen God’s answer – the Resurrection! What a long week it must have been for them, feeling like an eternity with no good outcome.
We too have faced a long and confusing time as we emerged from the pandemic to a world beset by war in Ukraine, massive natural disasters in Syria and Turkey as well as here at home in Florida, eastern and western Kentucky, and political and economic unrest around our country. In the face of so much uncertainty, fear can embrace us if we let it. We can feel powerless in the face of all of this. I wish I could provide answers to you. 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. In the absence of your presence in the Eucharist, let me join you in Spiritual Communion that I might never be separated from you. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Come at least spiritually into my heart and let me embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to 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