Sign of the + Greeting
Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant, priest of Montreal and Madonna House Associate. Here we are already in the second week of Lent. How is your Lenten observance coming along? During this Live Daily Mass the Lord continues to encourage us to come closer to Him; so we can apply our Lenten disciplines towards this goal. (Intention) Thank you.
Penitential Rite Brothers and sisters let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
How real is God for me? How real is God for you? God was obviously real for Jeremiah the prophet, because in his prayer Jeremiah was addressing his complaint to someone real and capable of granting his request. His enemies didn’t like Jeremiah’s declarations in the Name of the Lord; so they plotted to get rid of the prophet. For these people, it’s obvious that God was not real; they had no fear of repercussions from God, because they didn’t believe God is real.
With the Apostles, the situation is not quite the same. They all believe that God is real, and by this time, they believe – more or less – that Jesus is the Son of God. So why do they fail to feel anything as Jesus tells them about what is soon going to happen to Him in Jerusalem? Why do they fail to have any sympathy for Him? Why are they not supportive of Him? Well, it’s not too difficult to understand, I think. They are in denial. The coming passion and death of Jesus is so horrible that they can’t face it, they can’t admit it to themselves; they can’t deal with it.
We are probably all familiar with this kind of reaction in the face of terrible realities. This may be the greatest cause of trouble for married couples. When something awful happens or is about to happen, we may fail to show each other sympathy and instead retreat into denial, a mechanism that conveniently makes the intense emotion go away temporarily. Relationships can endure denial briefly, but it is necessary to recover soon and be there for the other.
It is beautiful to see how Jesus reacts to the denial of his Apostles. At first, they are silent, and then the mother of James and John tries to assure that her sons will have a future when Jesus is gone. Jesus does not reproach her in her maternal concerns, nor her sons in their denial. On the contrary, Jesus softens the harsh reality of the persecution to come by using a pleasant image: the sharing and drinking of a cup. He knows they really love Him and want to be with Him; so He puts it this way. Jesus knows that they are not quite ready now to face his passion and death, but later they will be ready to face their own persecution.
Then Jesus gives them Himself as their example to follow. They are to serve one another and not look for positions or honors. What about us? What about me? What about you? There are no doubt many life situations that we don’t want to face, that we don’t feel we are able to face, but we must sooner or later face them. Today the Lord Jesus assures us once again that we are not alone. With Him, in the Father’s love, and with the Holy Spirit, we can do all things.
It is hard for us to go to a priest and confess our sins. We don’t like to admit we messed up. Yet this is how Jesus wants us to reconcile with God, because Confession humbles us and makes us real. “Father in Heaven, help us put away our pride and humbly declare by confessing our sins that You are God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Blessing and Dismissal
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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest
of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC