By Fr. Earl Henley, MSC (California Community - St. Joseph Mission - San Jacinto, CA)

Father Earl professed his first vows on September 13, 1964, and was ordained on September 6, 1969. He is working in San Jacinto, California as Pastor of St. Joseph Mission.

When The Hour Came...... (Luke 22: 14)

One of the ways to read the story of Jesus' PASSION is to put ourselves in his shoes. First, Jesus watched one of his own apostles betray him with a kiss. Have you ever had someone smile at you on the surface but then do something to intentionally hurt you? If so, you have had a taste of the passion. Have you ever had your best friends abandoned you in a dark time? If so you have had a taste of the passion. If you had people make up lies and false accusations about you to destroy your reputation, then you have had a taste of the passion. Was any of this fun? No. Did it hurt you deeply? Probably. Did you get angry, feel humiliated, have resentment? Likely. Did you want to get even? Maybe.

At the passion, if Jesus fell prey to one split second of resentment or one moment of anger he would not be able to save us.  Everything would be lost. But he did not. Throughout this ordeal, unjust as it was, Jesus acted like a lamb led to the slaughter. He did not defend himself. He did not fight back. Instead, all Jesus would say, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23: 34). All of us will face false accusations or abuse or betrayal at some point in our lives. It is likely we already have.

As we hear the passion on Palm Sunday, let us resolve to be as merciful as we can to everyone who has hurt us, ridiculed us, betrayed us or hurt our reputations. Let us agree never again to undermine someone or hurt someone.

Reflecting on Jesus' passion actually creates a moment of sorrow in us. It saddens us to see Jesus suffer and be mistreated so much. But it can help us. We can look at the cross and ask God to help us be more forgiving—just like Jesus was. “LORD, HELP ME TO BE LIKE YOU.”

We are now coming out the desert of Lent and into the new life of Easter. What a great opportunity to put our faith into action! Be a witness to Jesus right where you are and the ends of the earth. Do not let this blessed opportunity pass by without bearing fruit (see Eph 5:16). As we approach Holy Week and Easter the greatest celebration ever of God's love! Thank you, Jesus, for suffering and dying for us. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the “resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25). Can we repay you? No, we cannot, so we just have to accept your unconditional love for us and commit our lives to being witnesses as Christians and serving you without turning back.

Jesus is alive! Easter is the day we remember the rising of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the day he triumphed over the grave, saved us from our sins and gave meaning to our world. Without rising from the grave, all else would be meaningless. Jesus triumphed over death and gave us life.

Mark the special days, the times and the church, you will be celebrating with during Holy Week. INVITE, and BRING your family and friends: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Happy Easter to you and All!

Noshun Lovik- Peace to you