In the readings for this Sunday, March 25, we move from offering Jesus with a hero’s welcome to yelling, “Crucify him!” and putting him in a tomb. Jesus shows us what God is made of with his compassion, love and complete self-giving. We take everything he offers us gladly. And then, when things get tricky, we turn on him. The Apostles did their best to stand by him, but they couldn’t understand that what was happening to Jesus was in God’s hands. It can be very hard for any of us to remember that, no matter how bad things get, God is on our side. It’s hard to remember that, God only wants good for us. And it’s especially hard to remember that God will never let evil win. Our readings today can be a help for us in times when we might be tempted to second-guess God.
The Chrism Mass is when the bishop of each diocese comes together with all of the priests in the diocese to bless the holy oils that will be used throughout the coming year for sacramental celebrations. The oils of the Sick, Catechumens and Chrism are blessed and distributed for parish use. It’s an important event, and if you can swing getting there, totally worth it.
In the readings for this Sunday, March 18, God fleshes out for us what he intended his covenant with us to be. To be God’s people is to live God’s law, and to live God’s law is to put love above all other things. Jesus did this for us, even when he was afraid and stressed out, and we’re called to do it for one another. Throughout our history, all of God’s actions on earth were meant to draw us closer to him. Even now, God is calling to us, dreaming of a time when we will respond to that call together and bring peace to this broken world.
In the readings for this Sunday, March 11, the theme of God’s mercy continues. The Israelites were in exile in Babylon when God used King Cyrus of Persia to send them home to rebuild God’s nation. They had been victims of war with a superpower, but now were experiencing a peace they couldn’t have seen coming. The second reading shows us God’s boundless mercy — that he didn’t wait for us to be worthy of saving, or make us have to earn salvation, but offered it as a free gift to anyone who wanted to believe in it. The Gospel today is a famous one — God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. If that’s not a mercy, I don’t know what is. Jesus tells Nicodemus that, even when the light is right in front of them (Jesus is that light), they still turn away and prefer the darkness. But, that didn’t stop Jesus from keeping his light shining. Even when we continue to choose the darkness of sin, Jesus shines his light to guide us back to him when we’re ready.