Pope Francis kisses the foot of an inmate during the washing of the feet during Holy Thursday Mass at the Paliano prison outside of Rome in this April 13, 2017, file photo. Inmates at the prison have been participating in a program to decorate paschal candles. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Holy Week and evangelization – A message for everyone!
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
The three-day “Great Feast” of the Church year is upon us. The Triduum is a celebration of the Paschal Mystery; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It has a message for every human being on the planet, but sadly we know many will not come through our parish doors to receive it. Are you willing to deliver it to whoever God puts in your path?
It is actually quite a simple message. The message of Holy Thursday is that happiness is found when we are striving to make others happy. The harder we try to find happiness on our own terms, the more it is like trying to hold dry sand in our hands; it simply drains through our fingers. As Jesus institutes the Eucharist in the midst of his friends, he teaches them the secret of life and discipleship. After he washes their feet, he says to them, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” All of life is about having a servant’s heart and caring for one another. If you want abundant life, learn to serve others in Jesus’ name and return regularly to receive Jesus in the Eucharist that will be filled with God’s grace to make present his kingdom through your life.
Good Friday seems to be an oxymoron. How can the day of Jesus death be good? How can anything hard in our lives ever be good? How can the Paschal Mystery be good news for every human being in our world today? Death happens in all our lives. People we know are living through incredibly difficult realities and each of us have experienced pain and loss. Yes, Jesus took on the sins of the world and opened for us the doors to eternal life and many may not be able to understand or accept this. But everyone in pain needs to hear a message of hope, which is “the resurrection always comes.” Death of a child, death of a dream, death of a pet, death of a friendship, all these deaths are real pain and loss, but the truth is that with God’s help, all people can experience resurrection and find hope! Let us accompany others through their pain and lead them to an awareness that God is with them and that there is always hope. They might not ever fully get it, but they will experience God through us!
Easter Sunday is the realization that the God of the universe loves every human person. Jesus tells us that the “weeds and the wheat” grow side by side and to “let them grow together until harvest” (Matthew 13:30). As baptized members of the Church, it is our duty to share the message of this great feast with the world. God will do the rest!
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally printed in the April 2021issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.