Saturday, March 26, 2016

March 26, 2016


Bright white light in a dark monstrance sky….
Jesus was in the garden - just two nights
ago or so. It was after the Passover Meal.
Praying - he was hoping they would pray
with him - but no, they were sleeping.
Then came the arrest - because of Judas’
betrayal - money and a kiss. Jesus was
arrested - mocked - put on trial - dragged
and killed on a hill - on a cross that Friday
afternoon. He was buried in a borrowed
tomb. Then the Father pulls him out of
that stone tomb tabernacle - to rise, to
proclaim:  hope, peace, new life, resurrection
to those in locked upper rooms - brains in
stubborn skulls - minds that were Thomas
sure that there was no more. But there was 
more at Galilee’s shore - bread - full nets
of caught fish  - breakfast with Jesus on
the beach of the future - still going -
2000 years later. Looking at the
Passover Moon, does anyone have 
Thomas doubts that there won’t be 
more - much, much, more - to come?

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016


The title of my reflections for this Good Friday Mass tonight is, “Last Words.”

On the death bed of our cross - what will be our last words?

On Good Friday - down through the years -  it’s been a tradition - to reflect on one or two or all of the traditional 7 Last Words of Jesus.

Actually they are seven  sayings or statements of Jesus - like, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Or “Father, into your hands I place my spirit.” Or “I thirst.” Or, the words which Jesus said  to the Good Thief on the other cross, “Today you’ll be with me in Paradise.”

Someone wasn’t under the cross with a tape recorder or a Cross Ball Point pen jotting down these last words of Jesus.

But in time to help us, they were written down in Greek in the Gospels - and we find three of them in Luke and three of them in John. And the other statement, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we find in both Matthew and Mark.

What will be our last words?  I would say that we can’t plan on what we’re going to say when we’re dying. In books of quotes we find various death bed words from famous people - and some are apocryphal like Lincoln saying to his wife, “I told you - I didn’t want to go to - a damn play.”

I remember reading -  that Goethe’s last words were, “More light.”

This afternoon in writing this homily to get some light - I looked up on Google, “Death Bed Words” and found some interesting comments.

One woman said, “My mom's last words to me were 'You have to learn the difference between Chinese and Japanese people, because they don't like it when you mix them up.' I wish I was joking. Those were my mom’s last words.”

Another lady said, “I was a health care aide on a geriatric ward - when a woman - so old and frail - she looked dead already - motioned to me to come to her. I put my ear next to her mouth and she quietly said, 'I just wanted to say 'goodbye' to someone.' It broke my heart. She died a few days later….”

Another person said, “When I first started as a 911 dispatcher - I had a call come in - and all that the person said was 'Tell them I'm sorry,' and hung up….’ “I knew right away what we were going to find when we got there. It was the worst feeling. I just felt so dirty that I was the last one to talk to this guy, and no matter how fast we sent help it didn't matter - it was just too late. So I guess he was confessing, but it just made me feel icky.”

“In nursing school a lady in her mid-40s came in after a car accident.” “She needed surgery, and before she went in - she made me promise to tell her husband that she had a child before she met him and put it up for adoption and should her son ever come looking for her to let him know she was sorry and loved him every day.” Then this nurse said, “She lived and I hope she got to tell him that herself.”

Frank Sinatra died after saying, “I’m losing it.”

William Henry Seward, architect of the Alaska Purchase, was asked if he had any final words. He replied, “Nothing, only ‘love one another.’”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, died at age 71 in his garden. He turned to his wife and said, “You are wonderful,” then clutched his chest and died.

As he was dying, Alfred Hitchcock said, “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”

Father Tizio would love this one. Former baseball player “Moe” Berg’s last words: “How did the Mets do today?”

The night before my brother was to have major surgery in the Washington Hospital Center on his brain cancer,  I talked to him on phone from New York and my last words to him were, “I love you.” And his last words to me were, “I love you too.” I got down to D.C. the next day - but he didn’t make it.

I have my last words with my mom on a tape recorder - 45 minutes’ worth of wonderful words. I got the thought to get her story on tape. She was still very healthy and still working - at the age of 82. So I set up a small tape recorder and asked her about her life. After a while she got tired and said, “The moo is out of me.”  She then said, “Next time we’ll get the rest of the story.”  

She was killed in a hit and run accident two weeks later - so that tape is very precious - very, very precious.  

And I got the moo part of her comment when years later we visited a family graveyard not too far from where my mom was from in Galway,  Ireland. To get into the graveyard, they had like a turnstile to keep cows out. I was with my two sisters and my brother-in-law. Wow was my sister Peggy the nun surprised when she stepped in you know what. Evidently the cows had an Easy Pass Path in some other way.

Nope what she said was not her last words. I got to hear a few of them in a last chance conversation with her in Scranton, Pennsylvania before she died.

The title of my reflection for tonight is, “Last words.”

Jesus had some wonderful words on the wooden death bed of the cross. The one I like the best and have said 1,000 times is, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

I would like and love to add something my classmate Larry told me. He had had a sort of fight or disagreement with his mom over something as he was going back to Brazil where he was stationed - and he gets back and gets a call a short time afterwards that his mom had died.

He flew back to Brooklyn but before going over to the funeral parlor he dropped into church and had a great prayer talk with his mom - that was filled with forgiveness - and then he was able to face her in the casket.

We Christians have Easter. We have our great faith gift that there is life after this - and we only have metaphors and hopes what heaven is like - but my hope and my faith tell me - we can all love one another for all eternity and say the things we always wanted to say - the “I’m sorry’s” - the “I love you’s” - the saying, “With you and God I am in paradise.”
March 25, 2016


It was bad till Jesus made it good.
That’s the message. It’s as simple
as a plain gold or wooden cross.
How? Forgiveness. Reaching out.
Thinking of those around our death
bed. Putting all into God’s hands,
even when we’re feeling forsaken.

P.S. It doesn’t have to be just Fridays.
We can make any day in the week
a Good Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016


This is the year of mercy,
forgiveness, and understanding.

All three knocked on my door!

I said to the knock, knock:
“Who’s there? Who’s there?”

And God said, “We are Mercy,
Forgiveness and Understanding.”

And I said, “Go away! I don’t
know You by those names.
You are judgment, justice
and punishment. And I am
sin, selfishness and guilt.”

And sad to say, God walked 
away that day - hoping 
someday I’ll show mercy, 
forgiveness and understanding 
to someone else as well as
to myself and that will be 
the day I’ll hear God 
standing at my door once again
knocking, knocking, knocking
and this time I'll let God in.[1]

[1] Revelation 3:20; John 20:19-21
© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016



We  see  Jesus crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, that through God's gracious will he might taste death for the sake of all men. Indeed, it was fitting that when bringing many sons to glory God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make their leader in the work of salvation perfect through ­suffering.


The word from this short reading from Hebrews that hit me was the word, “Taste.”

Taste ----   T   A   S   T   E ---- Taste.

We just heard  from this New Testament reading called “Hebrews” that Jesus tasted death for the sake of all.

People who have tasted death - know the taste. People who have tasted death often change.

Today is Holy Thursday…. Tonight we celebrate the Passover Meal - that meal that Jesus celebrated on the night before he died. It was his Last Supper.

It was to be the Meal we Christians have celebrated millions and millions and millions of times ever since in memory of him.

It’s called “The Mass”. The Mass is the Passover Meal. 

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

That night Jesus tasted bread. He took it - broke it - and passed  the broken bread out to his disciples saying, “Taste, take and eat - this is my body.”

That night Jesus  tasted wine. He took it and passed it out to his disciples saying, “Taste, take  and drink - this is my blood.”

Do this in memory of me.

That night Jesus tasted not just the future - but he also tasted the past. Jesus was tasting memories. Jesus tasted the Pascal Lamb, the bitter herbs, the bread, the wine.

Jesus tasted history in the Passover Meal which his people had celebrated for centuries - in memory of  the story -  of their redemption, their salvation, in becoming a people.

Jesus tasted the story of his people eating unleavened bread in Egypt - they were in a rush - and then rushed to freedom from slavery that night different from all other nights. It was their baptism - going through the waters of their baptism - into freedom. 

That night Jesus also tasted the future. Jesus tasted fears about his apostles, his key followers - who would he called to do so much in memory of him. He could taste and hear Peter’s denials. He could taste and fear Judas’ betrayal. He could taste the tears in his eyes that these men would run from him tonight in the Garden.

This Holy Thursday taste the past and taste the future.

Taste and chew on what Jesus was about: serving - washing feet - going the extra mile - stopping on roads to feel who is tugging at the edge of our sleeve - to hear who wants our time our skills and our love.

Taste Jesus’ total Holy Communion with his Father when he could escape to be in prayer with his Father for at least an hour in the mountains - or a garden -  in the night - in his inner room in secret.

Taste Jesus total Holy Communion with those who screamed out for him for healing.

Taste interruptions.

Life is often about interruptions.

They cross us up every time.

Sometimes we have to eat quickly - do what we have to do quickly - even if what we do is unleavened - not finished enough - not good enough - and we feel like broken bread and quickly sipped wine.

It’s life 101.

Holy Thursday is here. It passes over us over and over again - year after year - after year.

We get a good taste of it today - and every day we are at Mass - and every time we wash feet -  and every time get out onto the street for another day of life.

This reflection was just a taste of one word - “TASTE” -  from one small section of the New Testament document called “Hebrews”.  It gives us a tiny taste of what the whole book is about - the Mass - the Eucharist - the mystery and history of Passover Meal.

This reflection for Holy Thursday gave us a taste of some of things Jesus was feeling that day - that Holy Week - that Horrible Week.

Jesus is telling us expect betrayals and denials - expect people who can’t stay with us for an hour - expect night - expect rejections and not being understood at times - expect the cross.

But above all expect Resurrection.

Expect Easter - expect forgiveness - expect full nets - with fresh catches of fish. Expect new mornings with the taste of breakfast with Jesus on our breath. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23, 2016


It’s not all backstage, in fact, when
it’s a great play, we are not thinking
about what’s going on backstage.
We’re seeing only what’s up front -
the story, “the play’s the thing” that
catches “the conscience of the king”. [1]

But backtrack a bit - and know it is
backstage - the background of the
Shakespeare who wrote the play -
and where he got his ideas from -
and what his “why” is all about. Why?
Motive? Message? Meaning? Methods?

So yes, appearances matter. But ….
“All the  world’s a stage, All the men 
and women merely players.” [2] 

What really matters is the reality behind 
the costumes and the lines - the story 
behind the story and what happened 
to get someone to create the play 
and the actors and actresses to become
players and make their appearances....

But most of all, we need to sit there and
watch what what happens to Everyman [3]
and Everywoman 
after the play - after the
bows, after the curtain closes - after all, audience and actors - go through the
seven stages of life backstage - back home.

                                                    © Andy Costello, Reflections 2016


[1] Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act  II, ii, 641

 [2] Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, vii, 139

[3] Everyman, a Middle English, Tudor Period, play - in which God the Father sends Death to summon every creature to give an account of his or her life. Check Google under "Everyman" and you'll find out more about this morality play by an unknown author. Here is one comment from Wikipedia: "The cultural setting is based on the Roman Catholicism of the era. Everyman attains afterlife in heaven by means of good works and the Catholic Sacraments, in particular Confession, Penance, Unction, Viaticum and receiving the Eucharist."

Everyman (play) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016


Lord, as you enter my store, please realize 
I’m not an expensive 5th Avenue high end store.
I’m used goods - marked down - on sale.
I’ve been around and around and around -
recycled - but please have the good will to find
some stuff in me you like and you’ll buy. Amen.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016



The title of my homily and my thoughts for this Tuesday in Holy Week is, “Sorry I’m Not a Polished Arrow.”


Isaiah here in today’s first reading is reflecting on his life  - how the Lord called him from birth - “from his mother’s womb he gave me my name.”

Isaiah continues, “He made of me a sharp-edged sword …. He made me a polished arrow.”

Those two images  got me thinking.  I have been preaching on these readings for over 50 years of daily Masses - so I find myself thinking, “Think about what you’ve missed and not preached on.”

A weekday homily is only 2 pages at the most for me - so that gives me the freedom to think out loud and not worry if I’m confusing and not too clear - or  if I give a head scratcher or a dud. Been there…. Done that….


Yeah, it would neat to be a straight arrow. It would be neat to be a polished arrow - the type one might see behind glass in a museum - in perfect shape.

Yes, it would be nice to be a sharp edged sword - to be as definite as a sword - speaking with sharp edged - well cut out clear thoughts, sentences and paragraphs.

But looking at my life - like Isaiah looked at his life - I see myself not as a polished arrow - but rather as an old screw driver with a chipped tooth - like an Appalachian guy on a porch in the woods - a screw driver with three or four of five spots of paint on the its pockmarked wooden handle - because it was used to open paint cans - and the top is pitted and dented because it was also used to chip out crud and rust from a pipes - a hammer hitting this old screwdriver right on its head.

Polished arrow - not me. Sharp edged sword - not me either.  No I’m more like a rusty nail - that failed to do its job - or a black plastic garbage bag that broke.

Sorry Lord….

TODAY’S GOSPEL - JOHN 13: 21-33, 36-38

Am I being too harsh on myself?

Nope - but I’m not Judas in today’s gospel - stealing from the collection - and betraying Jesus.

But I sit there at many a meal with others and my mind is elsewhere. Not the devil entering into me - like Judas - but maybe at times. Hope not.  But distractions  - yes - big time. So too at this meal called the Mass.

I’m like the disciples at that Last Supper. I’ve been going to daily Mass almost 67 years or more and I still don’t get what I’m doing at times. Father forgive me because many times I don’t know what I’m doing.

Sorry, I’m no polished arrow.  Sorry I’m not silver sharp sword.


So Lord, this is me and I make this act of faith more in your forgiveness and understanding and your laughter with and at me than in the Trinity or Resurrection.

Sorry that’s how I’m taking your word - more and more. Maybe these are the kind of thoughts one has after they in their 70’s - the kind of ponderings Pope Francis has - not super intellectual - but simply, simple thoughts of compassion - mercy - and forgiveness - and understanding. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Time differs…. You know that, right?

Like when traffic is stuck - really backed
up - and you have no deadline and you’re
listening to a great game on your car radio.

Like when you’re starving and the Fast
Food Hamburger crew have their backs
to you and are laughing and you’re the
only one on line in this fast food restaurant.

Like when you decide to pray and you’re
sitting there in church for three minutes and
and it feels like a big long 60 minute hour.

Like the opposite - like a moment at a wedding
or a funeral - or at the beach or a game - or
time with God and with the kids - and we
peak through the blinds and the sun is rising
and forever - forever is but a moment.

Like when you’re lonely or like when
you are with the one and ones you love.

Everyone knows all this…. Right.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2016



The title of my homily for this Monday in Holy Week  is, “A Smoldering Wick.”

I noticed that image in today’s first reading from Isaiah 42:1-7. 

In the past I’ve enjoyed preaching about Mary in today’s gospel anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume oil and then drying his feet with her hair. [Cf. John 12: 1-11]

That’s a powerful scene, powerful image, and can be a powerful metaphor. We’ve all walked into an elevator - and wow someone with powerful perfume must have been on this elevator!

I haven’t thought about the smoldering wick image and possible metaphor from today’s first reading, so let me take a look at that today.


Those of you who have a fire place in your home - and you use it - know about smoldering wood or coals if you use a charcoal fire place for cooking steaks, hotdogs or hamburgers in warmer weather.

We didn’t have a fireplace or a charcoal stove, so let me use the image of a candle.

Hang around Churches one would get the image of the smoldering wick.

I used to be a candle boy in our church as a kid. We got paid $2.50 a week. I jokingly say, “Don’t work for the Church. They don’t pay well.” But for a kid in the early 1950’s, $2.50 was great.

We’d have to keep our eyes on the candles. As soon as the fire went out, as soon as the candle burnt out, then we’d replace the little red cup with a brand new candle.

Being an altar boy, then a seminarian, then a priest, I would know about altar candles. Sometimes it looks like the candle is dead, cold, out - but surprise there is  a tiny glow - a tiny spark, sometimes in the candle. There would be plenty wax in the candle, but it was going out or just sleeping or smoldering.

If one wants that candle to continue, one blows on it. We use wax and oil candles here at St. John Neumann and St. Mary’s.

So sometimes we need to get a new wick. Sometimes we need to get more oil. Sometimes we need to replace the candle. Sometimes we need to replace the candle.  It all depends.


The metaphor is clear - but what is the message.

Isaiah is saying that we are God’s chosen servants.

Isaiah is saying that God’s Spirit, Breath, Wind, Air, is surrounding us - let God go, “Phew. Phew - Breathe, Breathe on us.”

We’re called to be light to others.

We’re called to bring justice, fairness,  into our daily situations.

We’re called to open the eyes of those who are blind. When we are in the dark, people don’t know what they are doing. We are to be night lights for others.


Here’s a possible spiritual exercise for today. 

Find yourself sitting in a quiet place. 

Close your eyes. 

Picture yourself as a candle. 

The wick is barely lit. It’s smoldering. 

Next say and pray to God, “Come Holy Spirit” or “God breathe into me, onto me, puff, push air at me, and let me come back to life again - come back to fire again - light again - so that I might burn brightly for your greater glory. Amen." 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20, 2016


Hands - great when some one waves to us -
palms up! Great too - when someone claps
or waves palms for us.

Hands - not good when someone tightens 
their fist - because they are angry or scared - 
at us - or they give us a nasty gesture or a
thumbs down or signal, “Stay away!”

Hands - up close - cold - dead -
in a casket - in a funeral parlor -
with a rosary in hand  - and we kneel there
and say a prayer for the person who has died
and forgive or ask forgiveness for
all the times we didn't give each other
a hand or shake hands or wave 
or clap hands for each other.

Hands - with palms in hand - waved
to Jesus on that first Palm Sunday -
but by Friday some of those same hands
are gesturing - "Thumbs down!" and
screaming, “Crucify him!” “Crucify him!”

Hands - and Jesus’ hands are nailed
to the cross that Friday afternoon -
and the world becomes dark and
the veil in the temple is ripped in two
and Judas on another tree kills himself
by his own hand.

Hands - those hands - those palms
of Jesus - will open again - and again - and
again in resurrection and be shown at Easter 
to Thomas and to us - to challenge us to look
at Jesus wounds and cuts and have faith
that Christ the Lord has risen from the dead.

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.


© Andy Costello  Reflections  2016



Today we celebrate Palm Sunday.

Today we cross over the threshold of the most important week of the Christian year: Holy Week.

And if there is any time of the whole year that we feel the need to get closer to God, it’s this week. The Christmas Season gets us in touch with family and gift giving. Lent, Holy Week and Easter get us in touch with our need for the gift of God.

All year we are filled up with so much clutter and business that we tend to neglect and forget God, so this week is a chance to LET GO and make the journey with Christ through Holy Week to Easter!


In today’s gospel, we hear the great passion story of how Jesus crossed the threshold of the gates of Jerusalem and let go of his life.

Letting go.


Today I’d like to preach with passion on two words that bring us into the mystery of Christ and Holy Week: LETTING GO! Aren’t they the basic words in every love story -- especially love stories whose whole theme is passion?

When we love another, don’t we let go of everything because of the passion we feel for the other?

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3: 16). He let go of his Son out of his passionate love for us.

And as Paul tells us in today’s second reading: Christ emptied himself. He let go of being equal to god to be human like us. More than that, he humbled himself by becoming our servant — a suffering servant—and then this week, he went even further, he let go and accepted death, death on a cross. (Phil. 2: 5-8)

Letting go! Passion! Becoming a servant and slave of all! Dying! Isn’t all this the crux and heart of every love story?

Every Sunday we hear the Word of God and how Jesus is the servant of others: teaching, healing, forgiving, touching, feeding, caring for others. But this Sunday, and this special holy week, we experience even more. We experience Palm Sunday, now called Passion Sunday, because of its dramatic reading of the Passion Story of Christ. On this Thursday, Holy Thursday, we experience the Last Supper. On Friday, Good Friday, we journey the Way of the Cross and experience Jesus’ final letting go, his death on the Cross. On Saturday, Holy Saturday, we feel the silence and loneliness of the tomb. And finally on Sunday, the 8th day, we experience Easter and Resurrection.

This week then, is a week for slowing down, becoming quieter, and entering into deeper prayer and meditation. This week is a week for getting to church for the Holy Week services.

As we hear the readings this week we are called like Moses and the Chosen People, the Israelites, to let go, to leave Egypt, to make an exit, an Exodus, and move from where we are now, “away from the fleshpots”, out into the desert, heading towards the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God. We are called to climb the mountain of the Lord and renew our covenants with the Lord and each other, to sit down to table with the Lord, to let him wash our feet, to let him feed us with his body, the Bread of Life, to pray with him in the garden, to walk with him to Calvary, to go down into the waters of the Jordan, to die to ourselves, and to come up on the other side of the river, changed, converted, more alive, resurrected, more filled with charity after renewing our baptismal vows.

Letting go!

This whole week then can be summed up with those two simple words: LETTING GO! Somehow those two words touch the mystery and the passion of God as seen in Jesus Christ.

Letting go!

The words are simple, but the letting go is the whole difficult mystery of life.

Down deep when we become quiet and serious and closer to God we all know that we have to let go of so much in order for the Kingdom of God to break forth in our lives. And we know that the letting go is a lifetime difficulty and a lifetime of dying. 


For the sake of clarity and understanding of all that is involved in this letting go, let me divide the “letting go” into three degrees of difficulty.

First of all, there is the letting go of things outside of us: the stuff of life that holds us back from loving God, neighbor and self. Obviously, everything created is good, but when the goods of life and the pursuit of money and the things money can buy begin to swallow us up, then we have to learn to let go and change our life style and life attitudes.

We have to let go of all those riches that prevent us from fitting through the eye of the needle and entering the Kingdom of God. If we stuff ourselves with food or T.V. or junk and neglect our family and friends, then aren’t we blocking the Kingdom of God? We need to change. We need to let go and let God heal our situation. It might mean letting go of a second job or even a first one or overtime because we aren’t spending enough time with our family. It might mean dropping out of three organizations we belong to, because we are out 4 or 5 nights a week and our marriage is suffering.

Next there is the letting go of inner “stuff”: feelings, hurts, resentments, bad memories. Compared to the letting go of things, this second degree of letting go is much more difficult. All of us sit parked here like a tractor trailer truck with a trailer full of bad memories and hurts which we drag around behind us. We find it difficult to forgive parents for past hurts. We still remember being dropped by friends or people we loved or who we thought loved us. We all remember teachers or bosses or Little League coaches who had favorites and we weren’t one of them and as a result we were passed over.

Letting go of all those past hurts, especially from the early years of our life is so hard to do. If we were a tractor trailer truck, wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply unhitch the trailer full of bad feelings and drive off without them light as a feather without all those hurts? But no, we’re more like a garbage truck filled with the hurts and bangs and stains and garbage of our life still sticking to our insides and always stinking up our life.

Letting go!

But letting go of feelings is easy compared to the third degree of letting go: the letting go of our very self—the dying to self that Jesus often talked about.

“Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The person who loves his life loses it, while the person who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal” (John 12: 24 - 25).

Holy Week is all about Jesus’ letting go of his very life. Up to that moment on Palm Sunday when Jesus passed over — crossed over the threshold of the gates of Jerusalem, he had some control over his life. But on Palm Sunday he made a dramatic step. He freely let go of his life and entered Jerusalem. The Good Shepherd became a sheep. He let go and became a sheep led to the slaughter.

Letting go!

Isn’t that the hardest thing in life, to let go not only of things, not only of feelings, but of our very self?

Letting go!

Isn’t that what keeps some people from getting married? Isn’t that what keeps some married people from being happily married? Isn’t that what keeps some married people from having children? Isn’t that what kills marriages—keeping people from really giving their bodies and their whole selves to the other and to the family?

Isn’t that the world’s problem: selfishness, individualism, cliques, groups, peoples, races, nations, unable to let go not only of their possessions, lands, surplus, but also of their feelings of superiority or past hurts, but also of their very selves, unable to share life together?

Letting go!


So this week, we hear the passion story of Jesus — how he gave himself openly to the people of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We hear him say on Holy Thursday night, “This is my body to be given for you.” “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” We hear on Good Friday, the final words of Jesus on the cross as found in today’s Passion Story by Luke, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Letting go!

Good Friday!

But guess what? We will never let go if we stop at Good Friday. No, we have to see beyond Good Friday to Easter Sunday. We have to see beyond the cross, beyond death, beyond the letting go, to the results of letting go: resurrection, the Kingdom.

Only when we have that vision—the vision of a new life—a new way of doing things — an improved family — an improved world — only then will we let go.

Only when we see ourselves as Easter People, the Risen Christ’s People, Christians, can we let go of:

  • things that clutter our life and should be in the hands of the poor and the have not’s;
  • feelings that wear us down and wear us out;
  • selfishness that prevents us from giving of our very selves to God and others.

This week then is obviously a serious week and a Holy Week. It is a letting go and an emptying week so that we will have room for deep prayer and deeper union with Christ.

With Christ let go. Follow him. Die with him. Rise with him to new life for you and your family and your world.

Or are you still afraid to let go? Will you put all this off to another week and another time in another year?