March and April will be marked by the celebrations of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. We frequently relate the time of Holy Week and Easter to a time for vacations, delicious meals and desserts. That is all well and good because that indicates that we experience the reality of living a special time. But is there something more? Of course! In the midst of all this there is a hidden reality, namely, the meaning of life and death, the meaning of the past, present and future of humanity, and the authentic meaning of our existence!
Let us explore this more deeply!
The best image that enables us to understand the meaning of Lent is the desert. For forty years Israel walked through the desert, opening and preparing their heart for entrance into the “promised land”. Jesus, before beginning his public ministry, spent forty days in the desert.
The desert is more than a place. Rather it is a necessary experience for faith. There in the desert the most profound and authentic dimensions of the human person are discovered. Indeed, the desert is a time for self-knowledge, a time to experience one’s fragility, is time for dramatic change with regard to our lifetime journey. In the desert we live our faith because there we begin to experience what is essential with regard to our existence, namely is live in a grateful and faithful relationship with the Lord.
The Spirit leads us, like Jesus, into the desert. Only the Spirit can enable us to walk in that place and transform that dry, lonely, and dangerous land into a place where we experience the revelation of the Lord’s eternal and life-giving love.
The desert (Lent) will put evil in its place and enable us to view life with the eyes of God in order to discover and correct some defect or to remove the dust that adheres to us as we journey along the path of life and obscures clarity of our horizon. Lent is an exercise in realism and hope and reminds us that, if we so desire, evil never has the last word. Indeed, God’s name is “mercy”. Therefore, Lent is also a time for us to be merciful to others and to ourselves.
Passion ~ Death
The celebration of Holy Week, which flows from Lent and brings it to a conclusion, would have to be a paschal experience. In other words, Holy Week is not just about remembering or affirming past events , but during that time we allow ourselves to be touched to the depths of our being by the death and resurrection of Christ … we allow ourselves to experience the hidden power of the Paschal Mystery and to enter into communion with the Crucified One because we discover that he is someone who lives and is the giver of life. We are in the presence of a fundamental experience which reveals the ultimate truth that is contained in Jesus Christ, a truth that invites us to reorient our lives in a radically new way.
Holy Week, then, is an intense spiritual event. We make room in our busy lives to focus on the things that really matter: personal and world suffering, Easter optimism and hope, the renewal of our attitudes, our relationships, our service on behalf of others. Only in this way will Holy Week touch the mystery of our very existence.
At dawn on Easter Sunday something happens that is difficult to explain: the apostles return to Jerusalem saying that Jesus is alive, that the Father has resurrected him and restored him to life.
Jesus’ resurrection is not a return to his previous life on earth. He did not take on the same biological/physical appearance in order to die (inevitably) sometime later. In other words, the resurrection is not merely some bodily restoration. It is much more. Jesus did not return to this life, but entered definitively into the “Life” of God. A liberated life, where death no longer has any power. The risen Jesus is the same, but he is not the one from before. Jesus presents himself to the disciples full of life, with a new existence because, when he died, he found himself full of life in the loving arms of his Father. By raising Jesus, God begins the “new creation.” He comes out of “hiding” and reveals his ultimate intention, what he sought from the creation of the world: to lead all people to a participation in the fullness of God’s life, in God’s infinite happiness. Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation of our happiness and hope that God Himself will “wipe away the tears from our eyes. There will be no more death, no suffering, no crying, no pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Fuente: “Evangelio y Vida”, comentarios a los evangelios. México.
Autor: Silviano Calderón S. C.M.