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Love is the only answer

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Who is in need of the revolutionary love that waits to break free from your heart? A family member? A friend? A stranger you pass on the way to work?

Our 40-day journey of Lent is ending.

We have arrived at Holy Week and will soon recall the events of the Passion story that lead to the Cross. We know this story well. Yet, hearing it again in the solemn stillness of the Triduum, it becomes new as the boundary between the past and the present quietly fades away and the story of "that" time becomes the story of "our" time. The fear and darkness of those days bleeds into the fear and darkness of our days, and we discover that there is only one story -- the story of God's infinite love for his wayward children.

It is Holy Week and, like the people in Jesus' time, we feel lost and wounded.

In the year since we last celebrated these Holy Days, we have witnessed outbreaks of violence and suffering that have left our hearts aching and our spirits battered. We carry into this Holy Week, stories and images of sorrow from all corners of the globe:

-- Stories of lives lost and families broken by the epidemic of opioid addiction.

-- Stories of vehicles used as weapons against innocents on the streets of London, New York, Barcelona, and Stockholm.

-- Stories of deadly explosions at a church in Egypt, a mosque in Libya, and a concert in England.

-- Stories of gunfire erupting at a concert in Las Vegas and at a school in Florida.

These public stories of terror enter our hearts and connect with the private wounds we carry from our own personal stories of adversity. Together, they can leave us teetering on the edge of despair.

We are told that, at the Last Supper, Jesus was fully aware of the darkness that would lead to his arrest and execution. As he gathered with the ones he loved, he knew that darkness and fear would soon infect their hearts. He knew that the ones who shared the Passover meal with him would soon betray and abandon him to that darkness. What was his answer to the darkness that surrounded him?

Love.

He bent low and bathed the feet of those who would fail him with the grace of God's love and mercy. When he had finished, he instructed them to love others with that same tenderness and humility.

Love is the only answer.

Not "love" as the world understands it but, rather, the love of a disciple of Christ. Look around your corner of the world. Who is in need of the revolutionary love that waits to break free from your heart? A family member? A friend? A stranger you pass on the way to work? Is there a ministry at your church or in your town that offers an opportunity for you to bend low before someone in need and open your heart with a tenderness that no one but you can offer? Each of us, in our own way, is called to be a revolutionary instrument of love and tender mercy for others. We, too, are called to reach down with love and lift up others -- especially the invisible ones that others look past and step over. It is Holy Week. Easter morning is near and the time for us to rise up from the darkness that surrounds us has arrived.

Let us stand and look, together, for the sunrise of Easter morning.

Let us search for the path that leads to the garden where the risen Lord called Mary Magdalene by name, transforming the darkness of her grief into joy, freeing her to run without fear proclaiming the Good news -- "He is Risen!" Let us listen and hear our names spoken with love and tenderness by the Prince of Peace. Let us allow ourselves to be washed clean so as to recover our beauty as people of the Garden. Let us clear our eyes of the cynicism that blinds us and see anew that all people and all creation are animated by the Spirit of the Creator! It is Holy Week, and we are Easter people, empowered by the grace of Baptism to run with Easter joy into the broken places of our world with the Good News that the darkness has been defeated -- love has triumphed.

He is Risen! Alleluia!

DEACON PAUL KLINE IS A MEMBER OF THE MINISTRY TEAM AT THE SOUTH BOSTON-SEAPORT CATHOLIC COLLABORATIVE.

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