Today’s readings can be found here.
Yesterday, so many of us Christians around the world got up like any other Sunday and went to our respective parishes in order to begin the celebration of Holy Week with the traditional Palm Sunday procession & Mass. However, for our brothers and sisters in Egypt, it would be the last time they ever attended Mass. In that moment they became an incarnation of our first reading from Isaiah today. They became; the chosen people, the ones with the Spirit upon them, the ones who bring forth justice, who are not shouting any more, the ones called for the victory of justice, the ones grasped by the hand of God who created them, finally, the light to the nations to bring prisoners out of darkness.
But just who are those prisoners they bring out of darkness? Are they not you and I? They bring us out of the darkness of our excuses for not going to Mass because we are too tired, it’s raining, the time is inconvenient, there are sports to be played, or it’s just too boring, or whatever other excuse we use that keeps us from going to Mass.
To myself and my brother priests, they bring us out of the darkness to remind us to celebrate every Mass like it is our last. I know personally as I celebrated Mass yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but think about those brother priests offering their last Mass, whether they knew it or not…
So what do we do about it? Do these martyrs pull us out of darkness so we can turn back around? No, they should be pulling us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Those men, women, and children went to Mass yesterday to celebrate Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. They didn’t plan on stopping with Palm Sunday, but rather to continue celebrating the Paschal Mystery through the celebration of the Triduum and Easter Sunday. Now they will never have opportunity to participate. They won’t even have the ability to chose whether or not to go, or to make an excuse because they are too busy. We who live in places where we are blessed to freely practice our faith, still have that chace to make a choice. So are we willing to honor the sacrifice of these newest martyrs by freely exercising our choice to participate in the Triduum celebration this week? Or will we return to the darkness of our excuses?