Misplaced Passions

“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.” John 12: 1-2

In reflecting on this week’s readings, the Gospel from Monday really stood out to me, but not for reasons that I expected. I had to stop for a second, out of complete shock, at the nonchalant way that Lazarus is spoken about in John. You may have even missed it. Read the above verse again, did you catch it? Lazarus, WHO WAS DEAD, is now eating at table with his friends. What an incredible witness to the power of Jesus. It is easily missed and so casually mentioned.

Have you ever had something you were really passionate about and then someone mentions it casually as if it has no real significance? This happens to me when people bring up the TV show, ‘The Office’, around me. Hey, have you seen that one show ‘The Office’? Um…. the one that literally changed comedy for an entire generation, the one that introduced us to the human experience of a band of friends that stands the test of time, the show that makes us all teary eyed at the season finale? That show, yeah I’ve seen The Office.

It hurts when someone is not as passionate about something as we are. It almost feels like a personal blow. The most passionate person in all of human history revealed the object of His Passion. His passion, in both meanings of the word, is for us. And yet, we fly by Holy Week, with causal acceptance. At least I know I have in the past.

I think one of the biggest problems in our society is that our passion and desire is misplaced. It is not bad to like a TV show, or sports team, or hobby, but how often do we have the same enthusiasm for Our Lord and God? How often do we actually believe what is happening in Scriptures, believe that it’s not just a story we read in a picture bible as kids but believe that it has actual power in our lives.

One of my favorite quotes from C. S. Lewis is when he says this about Passion and desire,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We go to Palm Sunday Mass and celebrate the coming of Christ, because that’s what Catholics do. But shouldn’t it change at some point from something we just do to that which we are? We should be people who believe the words we read, who realize the power of the Lord we say we love. I have to tell you, I’m done with the mud. For too many years I have gone through Holy Week and it’s been just another week. Same Holy Thursday service here, same reflections on the Passion there.

Could you imagine what would happen if we tried to put the same amount of passion into this week as Christ did? That kind of power is scary and yet, it’s just what our world needs. If we cared just as much about what He has done for us as He does then we could have a real impact on the world around us. He gave up His life out of His passion for His Beloved. This Holy Week, I want to enter deeply into the Liturgy and not just let it pass by. I want to really use these great liturgical moments as offerings to the same God who offered so much for me. What are you willing to do during this Holy Week?

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Waiting in Hopeful Anticipation

It’s been almost a year since I asked the love of my life to marry me. Not to spoil it, but she said yes. Neither of us wanted a long engagement, but due to a few factors that were out of our control we had to push the wedding back a bit. This ended up being beautiful because we got engaged on May 13th (Feast of Fatima) and will now get married on October 13th (Feast of Fatima). God had a plan, but that sure does not make waiting for marriage any easier.

We always joke that we are going to be so prepared by the time the date actually rolls around. It’s gotten to the point where every time we see a priest we want to call him over and just have a ceremony right then and there. Waiting is not easy, waiting to be able to share a house and not have to drive to separate places every night, waiting to give ourselves fully to the other, waiting to be able to put our groceries on the counter at Trader Joe’s and say these are together.

There is a pain that comes with waiting, but there is also a hope. That’s what makes waiting so beautiful. Imagine Our Blessed Mother after Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. She knew that this was not the end for her son, but she didn’t know specifically what was to happen next. She waited in hopeful anticipation for the fulfillment of Christ’s ministry, and she trusted in Her Son.

St. John Paul II made this point in a general audience to the faithful,

“After Jesus had been laid in the tomb, Mary alone remains to keep alive the flame of faith, preparing to receive the joyful and astonishing announcement of the Resurrection. The expectation felt on Holy Saturday is one of the loftiest moments of faith for the Mother of the Lord: in the darkness that envelops the world, she entrusts herself fully to the God of life, and thinking back to the words of her Son, she hopes in the fulfillment of the divine promises.” General Audience May 21, 1997

Let us ask today for the grace to have faith and hope just as Mary did. As she is the icon of the Church, let us petition Our Blessed Mother that she would help us to trust and draw ever closer to the heart of her son.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us.


Day 2

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for the souls of Priests and Religious.

Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,

and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Entering into the Passion


As the wood digs into my shoulder, I fall on the cold concrete with the weight of the cross crashing down on my back.

Sorrow, for the things I have done and the things I know we all do. Sorrow knowing how many times I have rejected the most sincere and complete love.


Taking on the mindset of reparation for all the sins of the world, participating in the smallest of ways with the sorrow Jesus felt for those who will not accept salvation.


Such immense love for the people I serve with, the people God has put in my life, my family, my friends, those I barely know.

I have had the opportunity to play the part of Jesus over 5 times in the living stations on Good Friday. For some of them I got pulled in at the last second and all of a sudden found myself on stage half naked with actual whip marks on my back. Others were actually planned and I had time to put myself into a proper mindset. I was called to play these roles not so much out of holiness, but mostly because I had a beard.

Now, I am not going to even begin to compare myself to Jesus, but in the very smallest of ways I have been able to enter into the Passion. We all get this chance on Good Friday. As much as we should be focusing on our lives and how we can love better, it’s also important to focus on what Christ did for us and enter into it in a unique way.

I came to a realization the other day while driving to work. When reading the words of Christ, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” I have always wondered if in this moment God the Father abandoned Jesus. This of course is not the case. I have heard the explanation that Jesus cried out in this way because He was so united with all of us that He yelled out from the cross in our place. This is our cry, and Jesus asks the question while simultaneously providing the answer.

If the God of the universe can humble himself so much to intimately participate in our very nature, shouldn’t we flip that on this Good Friday and seek to intimately participate in His? Reflecting through His Passion and putting myself into His very mindset helps me to know in a small way the reality of the sacrifice of the cross.

This Good Friday, let’s all try to focus on the Passion of Christ in a way that not only allows God to enter into our fallen nature (Human Nature), but also allows us, through His power, to start to enter into His (Divine Nature).

I want to share this video of the Stations of the Cross with you. This is one of my favorite reflections on the Passion of Christ, it is through the eyes of Mary. It was written by one of my dear friends from a Mission Trip we did, performed by my mission team. I hope it is beneficial to your faith life. God bless you all on this Good Friday!



Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with this prayer for all mankind, especially sinners.

Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Divine Mercy Novena

The Divine Novena starts tomorrow on Good Friday. I will be including every day of the Novena along with the daily reflections so we can all pray it together. Here is some basic information on the Novena from EWTN.


Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday.  He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

“These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

“On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”


The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:

DAY 1 (Good Friday)  – All mankind, especially sinners

DAY  2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious

DAY 3 (Easter Sunday)  – All devout and faithful souls

DAY 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him

DAY  5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren

DAY  6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and the souls of children

DAY  7 (Easter Thursday) – The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy

DAY  8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory; 

DAY  9 (Easter Saturday) – The souls who have become lukewarm.

During the Solemn Novena leading to Divine Mercy Sunday,
the Chaplet of Divine Mercy should be offered each day for the
day’s intentions.

The Paschal Lamb

“That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” Exodus 12:8

Have you ever been so hungry that you just couldn’t stand it? I remember a backpacking trip I took in my Boy Scout days. We hiked 30 miles over the course of a weekend on Manitou Island. My little 12 year old body wanted to die and if I had to eat one more handful of trail mix instead of an actual lunch, I probably would have swam home. I remember when we got back to the mainland, my friends and I ate about 10 hamburgers each at McDonalds. It became a challenge, as most things do at that age.

Why am I focusing so much on food in this post? Well, this week I started the Keto diet. I have been trying to get in shape, because I want to be healthy for my future family once I get married in October. Those who know me well will tell you that I love food. I love cooking, I love eating, I love the social aspect of conversation around a table, I love it all. So naturally, when I stop eating as much, I start thinking about it more.

It’s in the context of food that I reflect on the readings of the day. I don’t think it is a mistake that the Church puts the readings of the Jewish Passover and of the Last Supper on the same day. Jesus is the Paschal lamb. Just as the blood of a male lamb was sacrificed and smeared on the doorposts to prevent death in Egypt, so too, Jesus’ blood was smeared on the cross to prevent the death of us all. Even the hyssop branch that the Israelites used to put the blood on the doorpost is the same type of branch that was used to give Jesus wine before he breathed his last. The similarities are too great for it to be coincidence.

This gives a whole new light to the readings of the Passover that we will hear tonight at Holy Thursday Mass. Scott Hahn points out in his CD, ‘The Fourth Cup’, it is not enough that we know that Jesus is our Paschal lamb. Just as it would not have been enough for the Israelites to slaughter the lamb and prepare it. They had to eat the lamb, and so do we in the Eucharist.

How often do we make food into a god in our lives? I know I do this way too much. It’s a vice I am really trying to work on. We eat those things that are most delicious, most fattening, most satisfying, and we never want to stop. We would do anything for a good steak, or deep fried twinkie, or a klondike bar. Food has become a god and yet the food that actually is God takes a secondary role in our lives.

Sure, the wafers at Mass are not as delicious as a beef wellington, but the Eucharist truly gives us all the things we look for when we cling to food, nourishment, energy, life, comfort, communion. As much as I have realized in the past few months that I need to start denying my passion for food, I challenge myself and you to ignite our passions for the true food that will give us eternal life. May God Bless you during this Holy Thursday!

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Pasiones Descolocados

Seis días antes de la Pascua, fue Jesús a Betania, donde vivía Lázaro, a quien había resucitado de entre los muertos. Allí le ofrecieron una cena; Marta servía y Lázaro era uno de los que estaban con él a la mesa.” Juan 12: 1-2

Al reflexionar sobre las lecturas de esta semana, me llamó mucho la atención el Evangelio del lunes, pero por razones inesperadas. Tenía que pararme un segundo porque me impactó bastante la manera tan casual que hablan de Lázaro en el Evangelio de Juan. Quizá no te diste cuenta. Lee el versículo de arriba nuevamente. ¿Lo viste? Lázaro, QUIEN SE HABÍA MUERTO, ahora está sentado en la mesa comiendo con sus amigos. Que testimonio tan increíble del poder de Jesús. Es muy fácil no verlo y está mencionado tan casualmente.

Alguna vez ¿te ha pasado algo que te apasiona bastante y luego alguien lo menciona casualmente como una cosa sin importancia? Esto me pasa a mí cuando la gente habla del programa de TV ‘The Office’ (La Oficina), en mi presencia. Oye, ¿has visto ese programa llamado ‘The Office’? Umm…. ¿Hablas del programa que literalmente cambió la comedia para una generación entera, que nos presenta la experiencia humana de un grupo de amigos que perdura a través de los años, el programa que nos hace llorar a todos cuando llega el último episodio de la estación? Ah ese, sí he visto ‘The Office’.

Duele cuando alguien no comparte la misma pasión de algo como nosotros. Casi se siente como un golpe personal. La persona más apasionada de toda la historia de la humanidad reveló el objeto de Su Pasión. Su pasión, en los dos sentidos de la palabra, es para nosotros, y todavía volamos por la Semana Santa aceptándola casualmente. Por lo menos sé que yo lo he hecho en el pasado.

Creo que uno de los problemas más grandes en nuestra sociedad es que nuestra pasión y nuestro deseo están descolocados. No es malo que nos guste un programa de televisión o un equipo deportivo o un pasatiempo, pero ¿cuántas veces tenemos el mismo entusiasmo por nuestro Señor y Dios? ¿Cuántas veces creemos de verdad lo que está pasando en las escrituras, que no es solamente un cuento que leímos en una Biblia con imágenes como niños sino que tiene poder real en nuestras vidas?

Una de mis citas favoritas de C. S. Lewis dice esto sobre la Pasión y el deseo:

“Pareciera que Nuestro Señor encontrara a nuestros deseos no demasiado fuertes sino demasiado débiles. Somos criaturas poco entusiastas, jugando con la bebida y el sexo y la ambición, cuando se nos ofrece la alegría infinita, como un niño ignorante quien quiere seguir hacienda pasteles de lodo en un barrio pobre porque no puede imaginar lo que significa que le ofrecen una fiesta en el mar. Nos complacemos demasiado fácilmente.”

Vamos a la Misa el Domingo de Ramos y celebramos la venida de Cristo porque eso es lo que hacen los católicos. Pero en algún momento ¿no debe cambiar de algo que hacemos a algo que somos? Debemos ser personas que creen las palabras que leemos, quienes se den cuenta del poder del Señor que decimos que amamos. Te tengo que decir que ya he terminado con el lodo. Por muchos años he pasado por la Semana Santa y ha sido una semana igual que los demás. El mismo servicio de Jueves Santo por aquí, las mismas reflexiones de la Pasión por allá.

¿Podrías imaginar lo que pasaría si intentamos poner la misma cantidad de pasión en esta semana que pone Cristo? Ese tipo de poder da miedo pero al mismo tiempo es justo lo que nuestro mundo necesita. Si nos importara lo mismo que Él lo que ha hecho por nosotros, podríamos impactar al mundo de manera real. Por su pasión por sus amados, entregó su vida. Esta Semana Santa quiero entrar en la Liturgia profundamente y no solo dejarlo pasar. Quiero utilizar estos momentos litúrgicos increíbles como ofrendas al mismo Dios quien ofreció tanto por mí. ¿Qué estás dispuesto hacer durante esta Semana Santa?

Resist the Fear

Today’s Gospel reading begins by telling us that Jesus was deeply troubled. And so, too, is anyone reading or hearing this passage: it is, in fact, one of the most difficult parts of the journey from Palm Sunday to Good Friday that we can read.  

That’s because it’s about us.

This is the night when humanity comes face to face with its self-centeredness. This is the night when Jesus identifies those who will betray him: Judas and Simon Peter. Two of his Apostles. Two of the people who followed him believed in him, traveled with him, ate meals with him. Two of those who had offered up their entire lives in the service of the Lord.

We read this, and it’s troubling. We want to believe that, going into this dark time, Jesus had, at the very least, the comfort of his friends. We want to believe that the Apostles were 100% behind Our Lord, that they “had his back,” as the expression would have it. We’ve followed along as they entered Jerusalem with him, we’ve seen them go up the stairs to the room where they would share the Last Supper. We don’t want any of them to betray him because that makes them as fallible as the rest of us.

And the truth is, if it could happen to them, it could happen to anybody.

This is the night that resonates with all our own betrayals of God. This is the night we come face to face with the fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from doing the right thing. The fear of getting hurt, the fear of the unknown, the fear of the dark.

Fear is the primary weapon of evil in the world. And the Apostles had more than their share of it. Only days before, they’d entered into Jerusalem as part of a parade! After three years of travel, of privation, of doors being slammed in their faces, of doubt and wonder and probably many sleepless nights, they were entering Jerusalem in triumph. Only Jesus knew what lay ahead; the Apostles were probably beside themselves with joy.

And then the joy turned to fear. A night like any other that suddenly wasn’t like any other. Judas, turning away from the light.

There’s speculation about his motives, and we’ll probably never really understand them clearly. Peter, on the other hand, we understand perfectly: he was afraid. When it came down to it, when he had his moment, his opportunity to live what he believed, he couldn’t do it. He was paralyzed by his fear and he did what he’d sworn never to do.

We’d all like to believe that in moments of crisis we’d rise to the occasion. And many of us would: just as human history is the story of fear and weakness and betrayal, it’s also the story of bravery and generosity and faithfulness. Two of the Apostles betrayed Christ that night; the others didn’t. The others were there.

But there’s probably in each of us a voice that wonders if we would be. If we could resist the fear. If we could stay steadfast. Because we know that if it can happen to Jesus’ Apostles, men of strength and fortitude, then it could happen to any of us.

Jesus’ question to Judas was, “Friend, what are you here for?” Imagine for a moment that you’re there with them, that night and that he’s asking you the same question: What are you here for?

The answer is what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life.

Jeannette de Beauvoir works in the digital department of Pauline Books & Media as marketing copywriter and editor. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, where she studied with Adian Kavanagh, OSB, she is particularly interested in liturgics and Church history.

Resistir el Miedo

El Evangelio de hoy empieza diciéndonos que Jesús estaba profundamente afligido, igual que cualquier persona leyendo u oyendo este pasaje: de hecho es una de las partes más difíciles de leer durante este trayecto del Domingo de Ramos a Viernes Santo.  

Y es así porque todo se trata de nosotros.

Ésta es la noche cuando la humanidad se enfrenta cara a cara con su egocentrismo. Ésta es la noche cuando Jesús identifica a aquellos que lo van a traicionar: Judas y Simón Pedro, dos discípulos suyos, dos personas quienes lo siguieron y creyeron en Él, viajaron con Él y comieron con Él, dos personas quienes habían ofrecido sus vidas enteras en servicio al Señor.

Leemos todo esto y nos aflija. Queremos creer que, entrando en este tiempo oscuro, Jesús por lo menos tenía el consuelo de sus amigos. Queremos creer que los apóstoles apoyaban a Nuestro Señor 100%, que lo iban a defender a pesar de cualquier cosa. Los hemos seguido mientras entraron a Jerusalén con Él, los hemos visto subir las escaleras al cuarto donde iban a compartir la Última Cena. No queremos que ninguno lo traicione porque eso quiere decir que son igual de débiles como todos nosotros.

Y la verdad es, si les podría pasar a ellos, podría pasar a cualquier persona.

Ésta es la noche que resuena por todas las veces que nosotros mismos hemos traicionado a Dios. Ésta noche, nos enfrentamos cara a cara con el temor que nos paraliza y no nos permita hacer el bien, el temor de lastimarnos, el temor de lo desconocido, el temor de la oscuridad.

El temor es el arma principal de la maldad en el mundo, y los apóstoles tenían más que su parte. Tan solo unos días antes, ¡habían entrado a Jerusalén como parte de un desfile! Después de tres años de viaje, de carencia, de ver las puertas cerradas en sus caras, de dudas y preguntas y seguro de muchas noches sin dormir, entraron a Jerusalén en triunfo. Sólo Jesús sabía lo que estaba por venir; y seguro los apóstoles estaban llenos hasta el tope de alegría.

Y de un momento a otro esa alegría se convirtió en temor. Una noche como todas las demás de repente no era como todas las demás. Judas dio la espalda a la luz.

Hay especulaciones sobre sus motivos y probablemente nunca los entenderemos claramente. Sin embargo, a Pedro sí lo entendemos perfectamente: tenía miedo. Al final, cuando llegó su momento, su oportunidad de vivir lo que creía, no podía hacerlo. El temor lo paralizó e hizo lo que había prometido jamás hacer.

A todos nosotros nos gustaría creer que en los momentos de crisis vamos a escoger el bien, y muchos de nosotros sí lo haríamos. Igual que la historia humana es el cuento de temor y debilidad y tracción, también es el cuento de valor y generosidad y fidelidad. Dos apóstoles lo traicionaron a Cristo una noche y los demás no. Los demás estaban allí.

Pero probablemente hay una voz dentro de cada uno de nosotros que se pregunta qué haríamos, si podríamos resistir al miedo, si podríamos mantenernos firmes, porque sabemos que si podría pasar a los apóstoles de Jesús, hombre de fuerza y fortaleza, podría pasar a cualquiera de nosotros.

La pregunta que Jesús le hizo a Judas era, “Amigo, ¿para qué estás aquí?” Imagine por un momento que estás allí con ellos aquella noche y a ti te hace la misma pregunta: ¿Para qué estás aquí?

La respuesta es lo que vas a hacer por el resto de tu vida.

Come to Jesus and Live!

Holy Week has begun. The Holy Triduum is just days away. Our hearts and minds attempt to wrap around emotions of both sorrow and joy. Why does He have to die? In order to rise again, we answer ourselves. But why do they have to be so cruel to Him? Because that is the result of our horrible sin, our monologue continues.  And before our thoughts go a single step further, an overwhelming sense of gratitude takes over. We are saddened and then joy filled because Holy Week shows us, like no other time of the year, the depth of God’s love for us.

A Christian hymn written by Chris Rice sums it up beautifully:

Weak and wounded sinner

Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burdens lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall, so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

As Lent gives way to Easter, this is what it’s all about. Seeing love pass by, realizing that His precious blood has washed away our sin, feeling him there with us when we fall, are lonely and in pain, celebrating with him when we are overjoyed, and ultimately spending eternity with Him.

During this final week of preparation for Easter, may you learn to come to, sing to, fall on, cry to, dance with and fly to Jesus, our Precious Lord and Savior.

Tami Urcia spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, while simultaneously studying Theology and Philosophy in Spanish. She has worked in Family Life Ministry at both the diocesan and parish levels. She currently works for Diocesan, is a freelance translator and blogger. She and her Peruvian husband are raising their children bilingual and love sharing reflections of life, love and everything in between. Find out more about her here: https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com

¡Ven a Jesús y vive!

Ya estamos en la Semana Santa. Faltan pocos días para el Santo Triduo. Nuestros corazones y nuestras mentes se esfuercen por comprender emociones de tristeza y alegría a la vez. “¿Por qué Jesús tiene que morir?” “Para resucitar,” nos contestamos a nosotros mismos. “Pero, ¿por qué tienen que tratarlo con tanta crueldad?” “Porque eso es el resultado de nuestros pecados más graves,” seguimos con el monólogo. Y antes de que los pensamientos avancen un paso más, un tremendo sentimiento de gratitud llena nuestro ser.  Nos sentimos tristeza y luego llenos de alegría porque la Semana Santa nos demuestra, como ninguna otra época del año, la profundidad del amor de Dios para con nosotros.

Un himno cristiano en inglés escrito por Chris Rice lo pinta preciosamente:

Pecador débil y herido
Perdido y dejado moribundo
Levanta tu cabeza porque el amor pase en frente tuyo
Ven a Jesús
Ven a Jesús
Ven a Jesús ¡y vive!

Ahora te ha aliviado tu carga
y lo ha dejado lejos
y su preciosa sangre ha borrado la mancha, así que
Canta a Jesús
Canta a Jesús
Canta a Jesús ¡y vive!

Y como un recién nacido
No tengas miedo de gatear
y acuérdate que cuando caminamos
A veces nos tropezamos, así que
Cae en Jesús
Cae en Jesús
Cae en Jesús ¡y vive!

A veces el camino es solitario
Es empinado y lleno de dolor
Y si tu cielo se oscurece y cae una fuerte lluvia,
Llora a Jesús
Llora a Jesús
Llora a Jesús ¡y vive!

Y cuando se derrama el amor
y la música llena la noche
Y cuando no puedes contener la alegría que sientes,
Baila por Jesús
Baila por Jesús
Baila por Jesús ¡y vive!

Y cuando con tu último latido
Te despides de este mundo
Vaya en paz y sonríe en la gloria, y
Vuela a Jesús
Vuela a Jesús
Vuela a Jesús ¡y vive!
Vuela a Jesús
Vuela a Jesús
Vuela a Jesús ¡y vive!

Mientras se va terminando la Cuaresma y viene llegando la Pascua, se trata de justamente eso: De ver el amor que pasa enfrente nuestro, de darnos cuenta que su preciosa sangre ha lavado nuestros pecados, de sentirlo aquí con nosotros cuando nos caemos, nos sentimos solos o adoloridos, de celebrar con Él cuándo estamos alegres y al final, vivir con Él por toda la eternidad.

Durante esta última semana de preparaciones para la Pascua, espero que puedas venir a Jesús, cantar a Jesús, caer en los brazos de Jesús, bailar con Jesús y volar a Jesús, nuestro amado Señor y Salvador.

Hosanna! Hosanna!

Jesus, we sing Hosanna and also cry out ‘Crucify’. Take our hearts and bring them close to You in our protest so that we may sing Your praise at all times.

I take a palm frond in my hand. In all the excitement I raise it higher in the air and wave it around, while singing ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’ Everyone around me does the same; the children jumping, smiling and dancing as we make our way from the back of the church to our seats. There is joyful exuberance here. It is Palm Sunday.

But it doesn’t take too long to create a somber atmosphere as we listen to the Gospel. It’s chilling how quickly we can go from praise to protest, isn’t it? It’s almost like the Gospel is our own lives reflected here – swinging from praising God in all His works to protesting; protesting the harm done to us, or the unfair conditions, or whatever else has overtaken our concern. Peter – even the great rock – also swings from praise to protest as he denies knowing Jesus.

What would it look like, I wonder, if we could swing from praise to praise? The Resurrection gives us the foundation to give praise instead of protest. But it is a difficult walk from Palm Sunday through Cavalry to the Resurrection. We can get stuck on that walk before the Resurrection. Today’s reading reminds us how common it is for us to begin in praise and yet end in protest. We all sing ‘Hosanna’ and also say ‘Crucify him!’

God’s mercy offers us something deeper, though. That something deeper is Jesus. Jesus, the first one to walk from Palm Sunday to the empty tomb. No matter how big our protest is, Jesus has looked at it and faced it already. He’s still offering His unending love. In our anger, frustration, and apathy, Jesus invites us into that love. Let us embrace this invitation and be enveloped in God’s praise.

What protest in my life is Jesus asking me to give over to Him to transform into praise?

Jane Korvemaker loves food, family, wine, and God (perhaps not in that order). She holds a Certificate in Culinary Arts, which pairs perfectly with her Bachelor in Theology. A former Coordinator of Youth Ministry, she writes from the beautiful and cold province of Saskatchewan, Canada. She works from home and takes care of her three very hard-working children. Jane regularly blogs at www.ajk2.ca.

¡Hosanna! ¡Hosanna!

Jesús, cantamos ‘Hosanna’ y también gritamos ‘Crucifícalo’. Toma nuestros corazones y acércalos a Ti cuando estamos protestando para que podamos cantar tus alabanzas en cada momento.

Tomo un ramo de palma en mi mano y con toda la emoción presente lo levanto más alto y lo muevo de un lado a otro cantando ‘¡Hosanna! ¡Hosanna!’ Todos a mí alrededor hacen lo mismo; los niños están brincando, sonriendo, y bailando mientras caminemos de la parte de atrás de la iglesia a nuestros asientos. Hay una euforia llena de alegría aquí porque es Domingo de Ramos.

Pero no demora mucho para que el ambiente cambie a uno bien serio mientras escuchemos el Evangelio. Da escalofríos pensar que tan rápido podemos cambiar de alabanza a protesta, ¿no crees? Es como si el Evangelio fuera una reflexión de nuestras propias vidas – cambiando de alabar a Dios en todas sus obras a protestar el daño que nos hayan hecho o las condiciones injustas o cualquier cosa que nos ha llenado de preocupación. Incluso Pedro, la roca más firme, se cambia de alabanza a protesta cuando niega que conoce a Jesús.

Me pregunto ¿cómo se vería si podríamos ir de alabanza en alabanza? La Resurrección nos da el fundamento para dar alabanza en lugar de protesta. Pero es difícil caminar del Domingo de Ramos por el Calvario a la Resurrección. Podemos estancarnos en el camino antes de llegar a la Resurrección. Las lecturas de hoy nos recuerden que es muy común que empecemos con alabanzas pero terminemos con protestas. Todos le cantamos ‘Hosanna’ y también decimos ‘Crucifícalo!

Pero la misericordia de Dios nos ofrece algo más profundo. Ese algo más profundo es el mismo Jesús. Jesús, el primero que caminó del Domingo de Ramos hasta la tumba vacía. Sin importar que tan grande sea nuestra protesta, Jesús lo ha visto y ya lo enfrentado. Todavía nos está ofreciendo su amor interminable. Jesús invita el amor a entrar en nuestro enojo, nuestra frustración y nuestra apatía. Abracemos esta invitación para estar envueltos en la alabanza de Dios.

¿Cuál protesta en mi vida Jesús me pide entregarle para transformarlo en alabanza?