Our Lady of the Snow Parish
A Blessed Easter 2020
There are times in prayer and contemplation when my mind falls upon an insight. This event stirs in me more ideas and the desire (sometimes) to see if it is part of a greater theme. This occurred on Palm Sunday this year. The core of the high point was very basic, change the word from save to serve.
Before I go too far into my Easter reflection, I want to thank parishioners for sending in their offertory envelopes and sacrifices in the regular mail or the parish house. It helps a lot. I also assure you I have been praying daily Mass. I pray at the memento of the living, “Remember Lord, the people of Our Lady of the Snow Parish, your servants.” Then the beautiful phrase comes, “For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise.” You are also remembered in Morning andEvening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Now, back to the Palm Sunday Reading of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew. This passion reading is long, Mt 26:17 through Mt. 27:66. The passage that follows, the risen life and the conclusion of the gospel of St. Matthew is short, Mt. 28:1-20. The sources of Matthew’s gospel are more plentiful on the passion than on the resurrection. What about a sense of the risen life? But not to worry,because there is a pleasant surprise.
St. Matthew gives us an unusual remark from Jesus, “……Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defense?” (Mt. 26:52-3) This verse becomes contradicted by the leaders at the crucifixion. Mt. 27:41-2) in mockery, “The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him with the words, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel: let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.” I got stuck at this verse for a long time in prayer, thought, contemplation. The literal truth was obvious, nailed to a cross Jesus could not save himself. Yet, Jesus did save others during his public ministry. I thought of the cruelty of the remark and the depth of physical painJesus experienced nailed to the cross. How hurtful it was to will not to save himself.
But now something broke through my reflection. His suffering would serve our salvation. It was an idea to change the word “save” to the word “serve.” Would that destroy or improve the meaning I was searching for?” From Jesus own words, he could save himself, but he did not choose to do so. Out of love and service to his brothers and sisters, to accomplish our redemption, and to serve our salvation Jesus would not save himself. The remembrance of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet at the Last Supper came to me.
Now chapter 28 of Matthew’s gospel tells of the empty tomb. It also changes the notion of who is to serve. We, who are the Easter people are to in turn serve the Son of God. Matthew’s gospel end with these Easter words:“Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” (Mt. 28:19-20)
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Please continue to ask the Lord’s blessing for an end to this epidemic in our homes, in our community, in our nation and in the world. Continue to ask God’s blessing on those who are sick as well as those who care for them and give wisdom to all who are seeking a cure.