Reflection for Holy Week …


He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross!

Storie Cristo
(Gaudenzio Ferrari 1513, fresco, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Varallo Sesia, Italy)
21 scenes from Annunciation to Resurrection: Top row: Annunciation, Nativity, Visit of the Magi, Flight to Egypt, Baptism of Christ, Raising of Lazarus, Entry to Jerusalem, Last Supper. Middle row: Washing of feet, Agony in the Garden, Arrest of Christ, Trial before the Sanhedrin, Trial before Pilate, Flagellation. Bottom row: Ecce homo, Carrying the cross, Christ falls, Crucifixion, Deposition from the cross, Harrowing of Hell, Resurrection.

The Second Reading for Passion Sunday is from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians and reads: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.

This reading seems in many ways to sum up Jesus’ whole life from his incarnation and birth to the events of Palm/Passion Sunday and the days of Holy Week leading up to the Easter Vigil and the Christ is risen, Alleluia! The photo of the fresco by Gaudenzio Ferrari entitled the ‘Story of Christ’ tells a similar story with fifteen of the individual paintings depicting the events of HOLY WEEK.

We might reflect on the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, his ultimate emptying into the hands of the Father, the consummation of his obedience, and see only the pain and suffering. And yet that is to miss that that same moment is also the moment of Jesus’ greatest glory. Listen as the Second Reading continues:

Therefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the letter announcing the Year of Consecrated Life we read, We are called now, as church, to go outside in order to arrive at the margins, geographic, urban and existential – the margins of the mystery of sin, pain, injustice and misery –, to the hidden places of the soul where each person experiences the joys and sufferings of life… ‘because our God, the Son of God, humbled himself, he made himself poor to walk along the road with us.(Pope Francis)

FCJ Word

The ‘way of life’ described in our Constitutions is an essential condition of our identifying ourselves with Jesus ‘sent’; with Mary and the Holy Women we confront the mystery of the cross and witness by our lives that the self-emptying of the crucified-risen Christ has conquered. (Foreword to the Constitutions)

Our fragile, fragmented world hungers for compassionate presence. As women of the church, standing at the foot of contemporary crosses, we are channels of hope, love and mercy in our villages, towns and cities. (General Chapter 2013)

To have this name (the name of Jesus), I would give everything, all that I am. (Memoirs of Marie Madeleine)

How does my life witness to the self-emptying of the crucified-risen Christ?

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