Today’s Thoughts: I know many of you probably look at today as just Friday. And you are right in doing so along with most of the rest of the world but in the Passionist world today, the Friday before Ash Wednesday is the Feast of the Solemn Commemoration of the Passion. It is one of the most important and special feast days that we have in the Congregation of the Passion. It is a day when we can truly celebrate the Passion of Jesus Christ which is the lens through which we view and live our lives as Passionists.
Pope Francis said – “Always remember this: life is a journey. It is a path, a journey to meet Jesus…. A journey in which we do not encounter Jesus is not a Christian journey. It is for the Christian to continually encounter Jesus, to watch him, to let oneself be watched over by Jesus, because Jesus watches us with love; he loves us so much, and he is always watching over us. To encounter Jesus also means allowing oneself to be gazed upon by Jesus. “But, Father, you know,” one of you might say to me, “you know that this journey is horrible for me, I am such a sinner, I have committed many sins... how can I encounter Jesus?” And you know that the people whom Jesus most sought out were the greatest sinners; and they reproached him for this, and the people — those who believed themselves righteous — would say: this is no true prophet, look what lovely company he keeps! He was with sinners... And Jesus said: I came for those in need of salvation, in need of healing. Jesus heals our sins. And along the way Jesus comes and forgives us — all of us are sinners, we are all sinners — even when we make a mistake, when we commit a sin, when we sin. And the forgiveness that we receive in Confession is an encounter with Jesus. We always encounter Jesus.”
Faith is always the key. As Passionists we celebrate this day with the faith that our journey of life is truly an encounter with Jesus, that God truly does love the world and Jesus’ journey to Calvary is the ultimate sign of that love. As Pope Francis says above, we are all sinners and it is that fact that set-in motion God’s greatest act of love for us, Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection. On this Friday before Ash Wednesday that is what we remember and celebrate.
Perhaps in a way we, Passionists, try to live the way Jesus asks the crowd and his disciples to live in our Gospel story today – “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. In other words, our lives are dedicated the remembering the Passion of Jesus Christ which reveals the power of God’s love for the world and through our special vow we bind ourselves to the memory of the Passion of Christ. By our words, our ministries, our living of life and by our faith we strive to bring this gift, this grace of God’s love to every person we meet. Or perhaps stick with the story we seek to bring the struggle to Jesus because he does all things well!
My prayer for you on this special Passionist feast is that as you journey through this day you will not forget that God loves you that you will always be faithful and that the Passion of Jesus Christ will always in your heart!
Have a great Friday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...