Holy Saturday — Epistle
…we too might live a new life.
At the end of February, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I sat in a pew and meandered about my attachments – to things, people and meanings of these ‘things’. I thought about my hurts, betrayals, un-forgiveness, and how I have been judged, and how I judge others. Some of these ‘attachments’ have long detached themselves from me, but my heart holds onto them. My soul aches each time I think about them. I sat there in the pew, looked up at the crucifix and asked Jesus, “Why is following you so hard? Why do you strip me of the very things I hold dear? Why do my secular/non-Christian friends seem to have it easier than me?”
Jesus graced me with an image. The image was that of a gushing river. Think of those rivers when you go white water rafting, only wider and much stronger. In the middle of this menacing river stood a little rock. I was holding on to this rock for dear life. If I let go, I will be swept away with the currents along the river down a steep drop (thinking Niagara Falls here). Surely I would drown or die, because I am not a strong swimmer. Then Jesus told me, “If you hold on here, you will just remain at this spot. Nothing will change. The strong currents will still be around you. It might appear to be the best option (and safer) in your eyes. But you will find it harder and harder to hold on. If you don’t let go and move along, you will remain stagnant. How will you grow? How will you know what else is further beyond? How will you know what else I have planned for you?”
This river brings to mind the image of baptism. In the early Church, baptism was usually done by immersion. The full immersion in water was a symbol of both Christ’s death and burial, as well as the Christian’s death to sin. The emerging from the water symbolized Jesus’ Resurrection and the Christian’s birth into a new spiritual life of grace (CCC 1214).
Thinking about me hanging on to this rock of my attachments, I am reminded again that to live in Christ is to die to self. It’s the prerequisite when we follow Him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Mt 16:24.
There it is right there, the answer to my question. This is what it takes to be a follower of Jesus. It may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, painful, and downright messy to me. But it’s necessary.
“And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” – Lk 14:27
I used to get really upset when friends tell me ‘Jesus is pruning you.’ I didn’t ask for pruning.
To prune: trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth.
I don’t like being pruned. But I know that the parts of me that have died or do not encourage growth, Jesus is cutting them away, so that new stems can grow.
Tonight, we reaffirm our Baptismal vows and our faith. As we await Easter, let us contemplate on our own baptism. To be baptised is God’s most wonderful and magnificent gift. To be baptised in Christ is to be consecrated to Him.
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
Have a Blessed and Happy Easter everyone! May you and your family be blessed as you celebrate the true meaning of Easter.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Draw us forth, God of all creation. Draw us forward and away from limited certainty into the immense world of your love. Give us the capacity to even for a moment taste the richness of the feast you give us. Give us the peace to live with uncertainty, with questions, with doubts. Help us to experience the resurrection anew with open wonder and an increasing ability to see you in the people of Easter. Amen. — Author Unknown
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for your ever faithful love and patiently caring for me despite the times when I drift away. Thank you for reminding me today what it means to be a Child of God. What my baptism means. Thank you for this immense glorious gift.