Solemn Commemoration of the Passion
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts!
Today we celebrate the title-feast of our Passionist Congregation – an annual celebration on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and the renewal season of Lent. Today we join Passionists around the world in glorifying God through the vivid story of Love Personified in the Passion of Jesus.
The readings chosen for this Solemn Feast encourage us to delve deeply into the life-giving suffering and death of Jesus — as prefaced in the Suffering Servant Song of the prophet Isaiah, as lovingly presented in the Passion narrative of St. John’s Gospel, and as proclaimed in the life and ministry of Paul the Apostle as he interacted with the Corinthians. As we pray these scriptures, our 21st century prayer joins the prayer of our saintly Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross; together we glory in the Cross of Christ!
These words from Scripture bear the deep reality of God’s love for each of us, encouraging us to open our hearts and "feel" the embrace of Jesus Crucified as he reaches out to each of us from the Cross. Drawn in to the divine reality and nourished by Jesus’ Life in the Eucharist, we are sent with other members of the Passionist family to "preach Christ Crucified" by both word and deed…the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We Passionists follow in the footsteps of Jesus Crucified and share in the contemporary Passion so evident in our world. We are called to share in the suffering of our sisters and brothers worldwide as they struggle with violence and war, as they strive for justice and a share of the basic goods of the earth, as they deal with natural disasters of earthquakes and floods and fires, as they bear the cross of sickness and loneliness, etc. Along with our sisters and brothers, we find meaning and a new perspective in Jesus’ ‘’greatest love", and pray along with St. Paul of the Cross: "…when you feel yourself on the cross, stripped of everything, gently stir up your faith in God’s presence, and abandon yourself in the immense sea of God’s love."
In union with Jesus Crucified, and encouraged by St. Paul the Apostle, today we boldly proclaim God’s Love in the Passion of Jesus. St. Paul of the Cross speaks to our hearts: "…the world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus. We must arouse the world from its slumber. His Holy Spirit will teach us how."
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.