Rejoice and be glad for this is the day the Lord has made!!  This week is Holy Week.  It is all about the Passion, death, AND resurrection of our Lord Jesus.  That last part is most important – for without the resurrection, nothing else matters, and with the resurrection everything is possible.  The passion and death on the cross make the resurrection possible.  They also give meaning to the suffering we have in our lives.  They connect the pain of the cross to the glory of the cross, for it is through the pain and suffering that we recognize the glory.  I am saddened for those who have no faith, for their suffering then has no meaning, and the pain must be unbearable.  As Catholics, we are called this week to immerse ourselves once again into the passion and suffering of Christ through our focus on the cross, that we might also join in the glory of the resurrection and our salvation – the victory of Christ over sin and death!

As Vincentians, we are called to see how our suffering and the suffering of those we minister to connect us all to the cross, which gives us the hope of the future.  We are called to walk humbly in prayer and thanksgiving, rejoicing in the Lord through the way we live our lives and the way we care for others.  Do I walk in humility in my ministry, reflecting the joy and hope of our Lord Jesus to all I encounter?

This week, our St. William conference lost a Vincentian – Mary Tom Clemons.  Mary Tom was one of the original Vincentians when our conference starting in the early 2000’s.  She served for eight years as Vice President until the fall of 2016.  She has continually been one of our most faithful and compassionate home visitors.  Within the church she was often affectionately referred to as “Sister Mary Tom”.  She was not perfect – far from it – and she knew it.  What she was though, was Vincentian through and through, even before she was a Vincentian.  She has always been a woman of deep faith, a love for Christ and for the less fortunate, and had a heart far bigger then she would ever admit.  She was a registered nurse spending the last 20 years of her work life working for the county health department.  She knew many of those she served through SVdP through her previous work.  Not unlike the rest of us, she complained about this or that, but at the end of the day, she only wanted all of those who were hurting to find help and the hope of Christ.  She was never too busy to care or to help.

I suspect the vast majority of our conferences have a Mary Tom.  They are a treasure because they show us the way forward in our relationship with God.  They help us to see that it is not always easy, and never a straight line.  They help us to understand that if we stay in prayer, walk in humility, and fix our gaze on Christ and those He brings before us, that we are on the right path.  They teach us that our hope is in the Lord.  Mary Tom and those like her provide us the path to follow in how we live our lives.  Easter reminds us of the gift and grace God bestows upon us.   Mary Tom was at peace with her destiny because she knew her destiny was unity with Christ.  This week she joins Him as an honored guest at the Easter celebration.  May she rest in peace at the heavenly banquet of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, grace me with humility that I might always walk in prayer, fixing my gaze squarely on you as I care for those you bring before me.  Allow me to never be too busy to help those in need.  Allow me to be a reflection of your light showing to all the hope and glory of your passion and resurrection.  Help me to accept my sufferings with the joy of connectedness to your suffering that through your cross, I might embrace your glory.    We pray all of this in your name.  Amen