Fifth Sunday of Lent  

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Peace and blessings from the Lord!

The Passion of the Lord Sunday will be next weekend. This initiates our Holy Week events. Would it be possible to consecrate the four last days of Holy Week in active participation of the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion? Consecration means separating those four days for God. This means the gifting to God our time because we want to be grateful for what He has done for us as we recall the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I am aware that for many taking some days off for God is almost impossible. Otherwise, who would pay the bills? How would food be put on the table? The fact is dollar bills do not come down from the heaven. It is always a struggle for some to prioritize spending time with family during the holy days. If I may ask, what are our memories of Holy Week when we were growing up? How did we acknowledge the goodness of God? How did we celebrate the Sacred Triduum? What was our involvement in our parish life when we were in our country of origin? I think that it is very important that we appeal once again to our conscience and ask ourselves whether we have set straight our priorities in order of importance.

For whatever reason, some of us have forgotten the beautiful customs and traditions of our inherent culture when we step out of our respective countries. This is a very sad reality. It looks like we have even compromised our religious identity because of our dreams and ambitions for the future. It seems we have lost the wisdom of our parents and grandparents about the sacred traditions during holy days and our reverence for God. I guess our honest answer can be found in these very important questions: “Would I be in poverty and struggle economically if I do not work for four days during Holy Week? Have I maintained my consciousness of the sacred?”

On the other hand, there are some who perceive that Holy Week simply provides good family time to compensate one’s need for rest and vacation. Others think that Holy Week is the best time to go to the beach and amusement parks. Is that how we spent our Holy Week when we were growing up? I guess that we often have a misconception of the meaning of the word compensation versus consecration. There are some who consider compensation as the best balance and a just response to hard work. Very few of us recognize that God compensates us when we consecrate a day in honor of His Name. This compensation emanates from the very core of our being when our soul is being renewed by the spiritual energy that is generated from God’s divine nature in us. Remember the words of Jesus when He was tempted in the desert? He said, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt.4:4) The Word of God within us sustains, inspires, strengthens, and illumines our mind about the meaning of our human existence.

In the end, it is our decision whether we would like to influence our children about the meaning of the Holy Days. Let us not be surprised when our teenagers are no longer interested in worshipping with us on Sundays. It is just a fact that there are very few parents who are journeying with them in the faith. Let us not blame technology for being so powerful amongst the young generation. For, after all, many of us consider that the real power is simply that which is tangible and visible. Faith, which always promotes trust in the invisible, has no room in the hearts of many. This is another sad phenomenon.

Again, as the most sacred of days begin next week, I think that we ought to examine our priorities. What is our most important priority? My answer? The most meaningful and significant priorities are those for which we are spending time with very willingly and devotedly. Why? Because time is so precious that we have no possibility of recuperating it back. Time always moves forward. Once we lose time, it is totally gone. So, if God is our number one priority, are we willing to dedicate to Him our time and consecrate to Him the sacred days of Holy Week that are yet to come?

I just thought of giving you a nudge. Maybe we have not realized that the One who loves us first will be so glad if we consecrate those holy days to Him. Like our parents, God is so glad to see us resting in the room that we used to sleep in when we were young. However, everything depends on our decision of whether or not He is at the top of our priorities.

I hope to see you on the coming days of the Holy Week.