Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
April 13, 2019
The last words of Jesus from the cross, from this weekend’s reading, from the Passion of Our Lord are: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
From those last words of Jesus, I suggest they be our first words as we enter into Holy Week on the Vigil of Palm Sunday and begin the holiest week in the whole Church calendar of the year. These few words say so much about submission and obedience to our Father’s Will. They can encourage us to walk close to Jesus and his disciples as Jesus faces his own crucifixion and death, but also his glorious resurrection.
Almost each day of this coming week there are services offered at this Our Shrine that can be a great help to give ourselves over to the hands of Jesus. In these celebrations we are able to accompany him, along with the shrine community, as we walk through these special days so full of meaning.
On Monday we have confessions in the Shrine Chapel from 6 pm to 8 pm. Both Fr. Joseph Gosselin, M.S. and I will be available if you would like to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a priest. It is a golden opportunity to look at our relationship with God, others, and even ourselves. Where have I been selfish or impatient? When have I been slow to forgive other’s who have hurt me, perhaps even unintentionally? How is my prayer life, have I spent more time in front of the television, instead of a quiet conversation with God?
On Thursday evening at 7:30 pm we celebrate the institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, or simply the Mass of the Last Supper. That is when several people will even have their feet washed. After mass we will have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 11 pm. You are welcomed to pray with us.
On Friday, we have the Station of the Cross at 2:15 pm. The Good Friday Service will begin at 7:30 pm, with the reading of the Passion, veneration of the cross, and an opportunity to receive communion. It is the only day we do not celebrate Mass in the whole year because that is the dy we honor the memory of Jesus dying for our sins.
On Saturday of course is the most important celebration of all, the Easter Vigil Mass at 7:30 pm. On Easter Sunday we plan on celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord with Mass at 11 am.
So you see there are many opportunities to accompany Our Lord this coming week. Let us pray for one another that we can truly commend our spirits, or bodies, and our minds to the Lord.
Fr. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
She who Weeps
(Palm Sunday: Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14—23:56)
The outline of the Passion is the same in all four Gospels but there are details that are unique to each one. For example, Luke alone records Jesus’ encounter with the weeping women on his way to Calvary. He tells them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children.” A similar painful image is used by Our Lady of La Salette: “Children under the age of seven will be seized with trembling and die in the arms of those who hold them.”
Anyone who has lost a child can understand the weight of grief evoked by these words. At La Salette Mary weeps, in a sense, for herself and for her children, her people. Her tears are a source of consolation for us. They are also a renewed invitation to return to the Lord with all our heart.
I am reminded of other biblical texts: “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying. No longer shall there be in Jerusalem an infant who lives but a few days, nor anyone who does not live a full lifetime” (Isaiah 65:19-20); “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The old order of sin and death has been replaced by the new order of grace—of hope, of life, of love—by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Luke’s Passion also includes three “last words” of Jesus not found in the other Gospels.
The first is: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” At La Salette, Our Lady makes us painfully aware of our offenses, but assures us that she pleads ceaselessly on our behalf.
The second is addressed to a confessed criminal: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The Beautiful Lady highlights the importance and the benefit of conversion.
And the third is: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” In encouraging us to pray, Mary teaches us to adopt Jesus’ attitude of absolute trust.
None of these similarities should surprise us, coming from her who stood at the foot of the cross and wept over us at La Salette.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.