(Holy Thursday – the institution of the Eucharist – through to Evening Prayer on Sunday) we are made present at these events.  When we read the Passion – first on Palm Sunday and again on Good Friday – we hear and say those horrible words, “Crucify him, crucify him!”  I find these words so challenging to say.  It is easy to think of the horrible act of the Jewish leaders having done this to Jesus.  But as I contemplate on the events, I realize that I drove the nail into his hands and feet, I put him on that cross, I was a part of the chorus shouting crucify him just as surely as his executioners were.  For my sins are a part of the blood he shed.  I was complicit.  But on Easter Sunday, his grace, his compassion, his mercy and his forgiveness wash over me and through me offering me redemption and salvation if only I will accept him, embrace him and love him.  It is the greatest gift ever given and never ‘earned.’

As a Vincentian, this week reminds me of both the suffering our Lord endured for us as well as the unconditional love and mercy he has for each of us.  It is a gift that I can in a very small way share with those who I encounter who are in need.  Our Lord offers this gift to us as our path forward back to the wholeness of salvation.  He loves, nurtures and feeds us along the way, showing us the light.

Do we do the same with the gifts we offer to others?  Do we offer assistance with loving care in a fashion that allows those we help to find wholeness again?  Do we in kind and gentle ways illuminate the path forward?  Do we equip them, walk with them and show them the hope that is possible?

Lord Jesus, I thank you for the grace of your sacrifice for me.  I love you Lord and an sorry for ever having offended you.  I ask you to take my hand and lead me home.  Give me the grace Lord to reach out as well, offering my hand in help to others.  Allow me to accept their suffering as my suffering that I may walk with them and lead them with kindness, gentleness and mercy to greater hope for their lives.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike