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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 38

Like millions of other Christians, I have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem I touched the rock traditionally reverenced in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus died for our salvation. I touched the stone slab where the body of Our Lord was prepared for burial.

I prayed at the Wailing Wall, the remaining stones of the Temple, perhaps the holiest place for the Jewish faith. I saw the large stone mountain in Galilee where Jesus called Simon to be the rock of the Church.

Rocks have traditionally been holy, solid foundations, and today’s psalm calls God our rock and our fortress. Rocks have also been used as weapons. 

In today’s Gospel the tension in the Temple area continues to grow. Some want to use rocks to stone Jesus for what they call blasphemy because he told them the truth about himself.

We are close to Holy Week. The rocky mountain of Calvary will be a place of great suffering and great love. We will make that journey with Jesus to Calvary.

We will walk with Joseph of Arimathea and bury Jesus in a rock-hewn tomb. We will experience the finality of his death as the stone is rolled across the entrance to the tomb.

But Holy Week is a journey from suffering and death to the Resurrection. The rock has been rolled away. “Why do you look for the living one among the dead? He is not here. He has been raised.”

Father John McKenna, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18; John 10:31-42