BY CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
Can I share a story from Mom’s wake which might help us appreciate and understand better the meaning of the sacred events we observe this Holy Week? It sure helped me.
So, in the midst of the tears and loss—and, yes, much gratitude and peace—over Mom’s death, my niece, Hayley, one of Mom’s grandchildren, asks, “Uncle Tim, Blake and I are expecting a baby! Will you give a blessing to all three of us?”
Well, the frowns turned to smiles, the somberness to rejoicing. In front of us was death, Mom’s passing; in front of us was life, in the gift of a new baby, a new life in the family.
Job put it best: “The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Thus the awesome meaning of this Holy Week: the dying and rising of Jesus, and our sharing in it. We term it the paschal mystery.
We go from the exultation, acclaim and faith of Palm Sunday, to the bleakness, denial and doubt of Good Friday;
Jesus hailed as Savior, to Jesus mocked as an imposter, a criminal;
The warmth, sustenance and fraternity of the Last Supper to the sweating of blood during the agony in the garden;
The earth quakes at the death of Jesus; the rocks crumble as He rises from the tomb;
His broken, bloodied body laid in the arms of his grieving mother, to the risen body before His disciples;
His death on the cross Friday afternoon to His glorious Resurrection Sunday morning;
From His dying to His rising!
Good Friday to Easter Sunday!
As I was reminded at Mom’s wake and Hayley’s announcement, our lives have a share of both.
As a matter of fact, we can’t have life without a bit of both. Ask any mom: the pain of childbirth, the joy of a new baby.
Yes, in this life, we experience both:
Evil and goodness,
Hate and love,
Violence and forgiveness,
Sin and grace,
Hell and heaven,
Satan and the Savior,
Betrayal and loyalty,
Death and life,
Dying and rising . . .
The Son of God had both; so do we.
Just remember that it is God who has the final word, His Son who triumphs. This is the message of these sacred days!
A blessed Holy Week and Easter!