A Holy Week Reflection By Fr. Kevin O’Brien

These days are holy days for many of us. Protestant and Roman Catholic churches are praying their way through Holy Week, awaiting Easter; Orthodox Christians prepare for Holy Week next week. And our Jewish sisters and brothers prepare for Passover beginning on Friday.

These holy days offer a mix of hard truths and hopeful news.

We encounter the reality of human suffering past and present. Our Jewish brothers and sisters will tell again the story of our ancestors’ captivity in Egypt, and Christians will live again the road to Calvary. We are aware that today the people of God suffer violence and captivity in too many ways, in so many places in our world, including in those lands so many call holy. These days are a time of solidarity with all those in suffering — in our prayer and in a re-commitment to a faith that does justice.

Of course, the promise of these holy days is that death and violence and slavery do not have the last word. God does — for Christians, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and for Jews, in the liberation from captivity, in the Exodus.

These events are retold all around the world in homes, churches, and synagogues. They are told in such a way that the promise LIVES for today. It is not mere nostalgia, but a re-membering that makes present again the great mystery of God’s loving faithfulness in our own lives today.  One way of meditating upon the mysteries of these weeks is to contemplate love revealed as fidelity — Jesus did not run; God did not abandon his chosen people.

Love revealed as faithfulness is not pretty sometimes; it can be messy as love is lived out in the brokenness and ambiguity of human living. But it is still love, so it is beautiful to behold and it inspires. As Pope Francis has said, whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something new about God.

As we reckon with the reality of human sin and injustice, and appreciate the beauty of faithful love, let us look for signs of God’s risings today and God’s liberation, both material and spiritual. Let us consider where we experience fidelity in our lives, and how we can better emulate that fidelity to those we serve.

A blessed holy week to all.

Fr. Kevin O’Brien