The readings have been long, but of course since this is the beginning of the most sacred and holy week of the year, it's important for us to spend just a few moments at least in reflecting on the deep message that God is proclaiming to us through these readings, through the events that are described. And perhaps we can catch the deepest meaning of all of this if we listen very carefully again to the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christian community at Philippi.
Young Voices: My wife and I are expecting our first child in July, and I'm finding new meaning in some of Holy Week's words and symbols.
The statues and crucifixes in our churches this week will be draped with purple sheets. The sparest days of Lent, the church's annual retreat, are upon us.
The sight of these hooded saints feels appropriate to me this year, for rather than giving up some material attachment during Lent, I've tried to let go of some of the old images that have attached themselves, in my mind, to God.
A Roman Observer: Pay attention later this week when Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa gives his annual Good Friday homily at the papal liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica.
Opinion: The only healthy family, according to the bishops of the world, is one with a wife and a husband. This makes me sorrowful.
My Table is Spread: In his passion, Jesus the rabbi acts on what he has taught others to do.
The late Rudolph Bultmann often remarked, "A Gospel is simply a Passion/Resurrection narrative with a dozen or more introductory chapters." That means today's Gospel pericope is the first part of the most important passage in Mark's Gospel. Yet, because of this particular day's ceremonies and time limits, we rarely hear a homily of any suitable length on it. And when we actually think about Jesus' suffering and death, we're frequently reflecting on the 14 Stations of the Cross, not on the four Gospel Passion narratives.
In the Gospel lesson, Jesus reminds us, as he had proclaimed many times before to his disciples, "If you really want to be my disciple, take up your cross and follow me." And if we listen carefully and deeply to the lessons of today for a few moments, I think we will discover in a very deep way what Jesus means by that, and also we will be aware of the challenge it takes truly to follow Jesus. And first of all, I think it's important for us to realize that in what Jesus is to undergo.
Young Voices: More than five years ago, I had an idea for a column: a column of young voices in the National Catholic Reporter.
Soul Seeing: Could it be that a good quantity of human loneliness is due to an absence of poetry?