Watch, listen and read
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama shares two messages for Holy Week and Easter. First, in his video message (below), he talks about the ninth station of the cross. If you’re confused about how the somber happening of Jesus falling for the third time relates to the “Happy Easter” greeting people will hear Sunday, Bishop Luis understands and explains how the two are connected. “Jesus shows us that it is not the end; to fall is not the end … it’s a season of hope,” he said. Second, the bishop’s written column (below) focuses on two tendencies related to the liturgical moments of Holy Week and Easter.
To celebrate Easter is to celebrate life; it is a celebrating with Jesus, who is the gift of life.
For us to celebrate Easter, we must “live” Holy Week with all its solemnity. To do this, it is necessary for each of us to participate in the celebration with the sincere intention of accompanying Jesus in His passion, step by step, moment by moment -- to be there with Him.
There are two tendencies toward the liturgical moments of Holy Week and Easter. There are people who live Holy Week focusing only on the holy days -- Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- and not on Easter Sunday. People with this tendency identify with the pain, get tied to the past, mourn it, and remain hopeless. The second tendency is to celebrate Easter without having celebrated the holy days. These people deny the past, the need for purification and healing; they deny the medicine of the cross, and they think they are worthy of everything.
Holy Week without Easter is meaningless!
Easter without Holy Week does not exist!
A world that only celebrates Easter denies the existence of sin and the need for forgiveness.
Why am I saying this? I say this because we cannot separate these main liturgical moments of our faith. One cannot be understood without the other! The mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ calls us to get in touch with our reality and to face it with our eyes fixed on Him, who is Mercy. It calls us to realize that everything that destroys, that damages, that separates, that kills, that divides; all sin; any act of injustice, racism, abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking; all selfishness; everything that threatens life, that is, all absence of Love was the reason why Jesus was crucified, and it can destroy us. But sin, as powerful as it may seem to us, does not have the last word!
We must raise the “flag” of humility. Only thus will we recognize these realities and our own sins and weaknesses and find, in Mercy, the medicine of Love -- which Jesus offers us from the cross -- and be able to heal.
Mercy forgives, heals, and gives life -- it is Easter!
We are called to listen to Jesus, to draw near to Him, to trust Him. In this way, we will discover in ourselves what makes us like “Pharisees and hypocrites,” that is, discover what is leading us to judge and view our neighbor unjustly.
The only one that matters and deserves all our attention is Jesus, who, nailed to the cross, destroyed everything that kills and, rising from the dead, gave us Life.
To respect and love each other, regardless of race, language, gender, color, religion, etc., we must first answer the call to discover how Jesus sees us and how much He loves us. If we discover in Him our dignity and talents, we will learn to see others with the eyes of Love, with the eyes of God, and we will be able to realize that every life is holy, every person has infinite worth -- that human dignity does not emerge from a slogan but, rather, it comes from Love, Jesus, who offers us Life by dying on the cross for us.
There is no Life without the cross; there is no Easter without Holy Week!