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A reflection for Holy Week

As I was walking the campus a few days ago, I found myself thinking about the month of March and how quickly it has gone.  In just a few short weeks, the campus has been transformed from ice and snow covering the ground to blossoms and buds adorning the plants and trees.  All the while, Christians around the world have spent the entire month engaged in Lenten practices.  As I thought ahead, I realized that March (and Lent) will end with the Triduum days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

As I walked, I found myself thinking about the events of the month.  Here in Terre Haute, we marked the beginning of March with Human Rights Day, at which speakers addressed topics such as “Changing our Political Culture: Human Rights and a Transformative Approach to Governing” and “House of Secrets: Immigrant Children on their Own.”  On that same day, in Indianapolis, some of our sisters participated in an action to call for just and humane legislation for the DACA Dreamers.  How appropriate, I thought, that we would take action around the immigration issue as we celebrated Human Rights Day.

Then, in an instant, my mind began to think about so many other human rights issues, in addition to Congress’s failure to pass DACA legislation, that were in the news that week … climate change – not only its effect on the Arctic, but also the unbelievable reality that Cape Town, South Africa, will literally run out of water before summer.  There were reports of the Assad regime using chlorine gas on citizens of Syria; continued systematic crimes levied by the Israeli forces on Palestinians; and, of course, the ongoing dispute in the United States about whether the escalation of gun massacres should give way to more restrictive gun legislation.

Isn’t it paradoxical, I thought, that all these issues abound in the holy season of Lent … a liturgical season in which we are reminded over and over of God’s unconditional love for us … a God who continues to offer opportunities for us to change our hearts, from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh … a God whose Love was made flesh in Jesus. Is this the love God wants of us, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus?

Jesus, the one who proclaimed early in his ministry that he came to “bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from our God.” (Luke 4: 14-19) …
Jesus, the one who stood up to the Pharisees, who spoke out so often against the actions of those in power that he became a threat to them …
Jesus, the one who willingly gave his life, standing on the side of right …

As we come to the end of March and enter the Triduum days, let us remember Jesus’ model of service as he washed the feet of the disciples and called them to break bread in remembrance of him.  Let us remember his willingness to give everything, even his life, so that justice might prevail on Earth. And in the emptiness of Holy Saturday, as we await that triumphal celebration of New Life, let us vow not to stay in our tombs, waiting complacently for human rights to abound, but rather to walk in the path marked out by Jesus … to have the courage, and the heart, and the love to speak out and take action against human rights and other injustices … and to be willing to suffer the consequences … that ALL people might know and experience the world that God intended.

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Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp

Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp has been a Sister of Providence since 1975. She currently serves on the Congregation leadership team. Previously she ministered as a teacher and administrator at the secondary and university levels.

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2 Comments

  1. Paula Modaff, S.P. on March 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

    And you are walking the talk by participating in 8th Day’s Way of the Cross on Good Friday. Your authentic living gives me energy. Gratefully, Paula

  2. Donna Butler on March 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Thanks, Jeanne for a very thoughtful reflection.

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