Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Fractured Home-owner

By Orlando Hernandez

There are times, when I sit before the Altar of the Lord, and I feel like such a “mess”.
In the Gospel for Wednesday of Holy Week we read :

“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?’ He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “The teacher says, ‘my appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.’”’The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.” (Mt 26:17-19)

I often wonder about this “certain man” who offered his home for Jesus to dine with His disciples. Did he tidy up his house? Did he get a chance to also participate in the miraculous meal that took place in the “upper room” of his house? I have this vision of my Lord coming to my door every morning inviting Himself to the home I occupy, my very self, body and soul. I think of the beloved verse from Revelation 3:20 : “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”

How intimate, how precious. Sometimes when I receive the Eucharist this image comes into my very heart. I rest in it, with You, my Lord. But often, unfortunately, a set of disturbing characters rush in to join us at the table. They need so much to be with You, but look at who some of them are: a hot head, a cripple, a lech, a leech, a know-it-all, a liar, a miser, a doubter, a coward, a denier, even a betrayer. I am so ashamed and embarrassed! Will You walk out? You never did, in Your many dinners with so many unsavory folks. And You don’t leave this house of mine that You bless.

You even stoop to wash our feet! You give us Your love. You sanctify us. You bless us. You even invite us to join You at Your House, with Your Father. You heal and forgive us. You bathe us with the light of Your Eternal Life. You give us Your Holy Spirit! Why do You love us like this?

Perhaps You look past us, through us, at the beloved little person You created. Your eyes tell me that You see someone beautiful. Is it really me?

Mary, Sister of Lazarus

Psalm 42, begins morning prayer this Monday of Holy Week, a prayer of longing for the presence of the Lord in his temple.

Like the deer that yearns
for running streams,
so my soul is longing
for you my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,
the God of my life,
when can I enter and see
the face of God?

Jesus surely said this psalm approaching the temple of Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. He came to be in the presence of his Father. not to argue or dispute with those who rejected him in that holy place. Yet. he was rejected.

My tears have become my bread
by night and by day
as I hear it said all the day long
“Where is your God!”

Psalms like this allow us to know his thoughts these days, when Jesus stayed in Bethany before his crucifixion. Today, we recall a banquet when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, poured a precious oil on him. She did it “for the day of my burial”, Jesus says.

Why are you cast down my soul,
why groan within me?
hope in God, I will praise him still,
my Savior and my God.

Today we remember Mary, sister of Lazarus, for her gracious kindness.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

The Gospel of Mark, the first of the gospels to appear in written form, presents Jesus going to death in utter desolation, draining the cup of suffering given him by his Father. His enemies viciously reject him; his disciples mostly betray or desert him. Only a few remain as he goes on his way. His cry from the cross is a cry of faith mingled with deep fear and sorrow: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This gospel, taut and fast-paced, brings us into the dark mystery of suffering that Jesus faced. We face it too. The Passion is a book that leads to life, a risen life. Our liturgy tells us that today. Like a “well trained tongue” our readings from Isaiah 50,4-7, Philippians 2, 6-11, Psalm 22 and Mark’s Passion narrative call us to hope before the enemy death.

The desolation Jesus faced took many forms, some quite hidden from our eyes and understanding. Yes, the cross brought physical pain, but the gospels, even the gospel of Mark, the darkest of them, do not describe physical sufferings in great detail, as Mel Gibson does in his The Passion of the Christ. The sufferings Jesus endured were primarily spiritual and psychological, all indicated in the cry “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

Paul of the Cross spoke of this to a priest of his community who was experiencing the cross of spiritual desolation. God’s grace would lift him up to bring life to someone else, the saint assured him. The mystery of the cross never ends in death.

“From what you tell me of your soul, I, with the little or no light that God gives me, tell you that the abandonment and desolation, and the rest you mention, are precisely preparing you for greater graces that will help you in the ministry for which his Divine Majesty has destined you either now or at some other time. Of that I have no doubt.” (letter 1217)


Speak to all of us today of joy and gladness,

let the bones you have crushed rejoice…

Restore in us the joy of your salvation. Ps. 51