In my homily on Saturday evening, the Vigil Mass for Palm Sunday, the Holy Spirit took hold of my mind and heart in ways that I had not particularly prepared. Of course I had to continue my Lenten goal: get to know this Jesus of the Lenten days and especially of Holy Week as your friend. He is the friend you can sit and talk to with your cup of coffee or tea. He is the friend who truly desires to talk with you and to listen to you as well. Ours truly is the task of learning how to listen to him.
It is important to focus on him this week and not upon our failures, our sins. Rather all of this Holy Week, especially the days of the Sacred Triduum (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) are truly one experience that we divide because we have 24 hour days. It is during this week that we should be focused on the reason Jesus endures all the worry and subsequent agony. We should look upon the Cross not for it brutality to a human being, not upon the nails at torture tools but as instruments of revelation for us.
Throughout these days of this week, focus upon one reality: see the face of Jesus at every moment that you can and realize that he is looking at you because you are his friend. He wants so much for each of us to understand what that means, this friendship with the Son of God.
The temptation is to focus on our failure, on Peter's failure, on Judas' failure. Fr. Roc O'Connor, SJ, of Creighton University, wrote these "betrayals are less important than Jesus' glorification on the cross. For that is when he most truly reveals God in glory!" How true, how true. These days and all that happens to our friend Jesus are a revelation of God in glory.
So often when we are witness to another person's suffering, especially the passion and death of Jesus, our friend, we usually attempt to draw attention to ourselves. It is my sinfulness, my failures, that distract us from the central message of these days, the glory of God.
As we continue the Lenten journey, let's turn our attention to every action of Jesus as a moment when we can look at his face. Let us see in the face of Jesus when he is tortured by flailing whips the Father's gift to us of such a friend. It is your friend fulfilling the will of his Father. It is your friend who is winning salvation for each of us. Walk with him with this in mind, not your sins or your failures. Withdraw from focusing on one's self. Focus on what these days are: the glorification of your God and your friend, Jesus.