Holy Saturday retreat: Presence of peace

Fr. J

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Holy Saturday retreat: Presence of peace
Through his unconditional love on the cross, Jesus taught us to look beyond the sins and shortcomings of others

Welcome to the third and last day of our retreat.
Today we will spend some time with the Lord
reflecting about his death
in preparation for the joy of Easter.

Yesterday we looked at the events and mysteries of Good Friday
through the second temptation in the desert.
We saw how our Lord resisted the temptation of angels and flights
not just in the desert, but especially on the cross.

While Holy Thursday was characterized by the silence of stones
and our Lord’s act of self-disarmament,
yesterday was marked by an absence of angels
and a foregoing of flights.

Through his unconditional love on the cross,
Jesus taught us to look
beyond the sins and shortcomings of others
and to insist on seeking the lost, frightened sheep
hidden in every person – including the most wicked.
He believed that love alone
could coax the sheep out of its wolves’ clothing,
soften and transform the most hardened and wicked of hearts.

For our opening prayer today,
we place our hope in Jesus –
and in him alone.

We will contemplate scenes
from his Passion and Death on the cross,
taken from the film The Passion of the Christ.

As we pray this Way of the Cross,
train your eyes on Jesus,
his refusal to take any shortcut
and to call for any rescue,
his insistence on “going all the way”
because his is the heart of the Good Shepherd
willing to lay down his life for his sheep.

Screen grab from 'The Passion of the Christ'

But pay attention as well
to Mary as she follows her son.
She has been doing that without understanding;
perhaps more than ever,
she who is no stranger to angels
is bewildered by their conspicuous absence.
She too has to learn to “drop the stone.”
Watch for that moment.

Finally, the Father Who has been silent
and seemingly absent all throughout
is very much present in Calvary.
Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding –
including and especially to Jesus –
the Father is there,
watching over His son;
He too does it through tears.
Watch for the single teardrop
that falls from heaven.

Finally, listen to your heart
as you pray over this scene.

A strange religious leader

Even among other religious leaders,
this Jesus is a strange one.

Take a look at this gallery of gurus
and gods. Note the kind of death
each one experienced.

Deaths are a telling way
to evaluate a person’s life.

A religious gallery by pinslight

If you were shopping for a religious leader to follow
and to imitate,
would you still choose Jesus?

Think about it for a while
before proceeding to the next section.

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