From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

This week we celebrate the passion, the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the Triduum (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.

At the Easter Vigil, traditionally, we transition from total darkness, gradually into light; a light ushered in by the Paschal Candle and the Easter Proclamation known as the Exsultet.  “Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal king.  Let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”  Easter ushers in newness of life, hope and great mercy!  It is a transition point from the darkness; the despair; “the prison bars of death” all broken by Christ rising to bring us redemption through the mercy of God!  We hear and know the hope of Christ through his words, “DO NOT BE AFRAID!”

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. We have a special responsibility to push past our fears with the sure hope we know Christ brings to us.  During these times, so many find themselves confronted with circumstances they never expected.  We are their assurance of hope and help.  For many though, the first thing they need is our presence and listening ear.  We need to give voice to the words of Jesus – “Do not be afraid!”  

Do I make myself truly present to those in need?  Do I listen to help relieve their fears and suffering?  Do I offer to them the hope and light of Christ?  Do I share the gifts Christ shares with me?

Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life!  Let me see in your resurrection the hope of tomorrow!  Take my fears and cast them to the side.  Grace me with the patience and compassion to be present to those who are suffering.  Help me to lift them up as you lift me.  Praise and glory to your name, for in you and through you we shall arise from this darkness to be with you in paradise.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike