The celebration of Lent, Holy Week and Easter is an invitation to go on a journey – a pilgrimage in fact. St. Thomas the Apostle speaks to us and for us in John 11:16: “Let us also go to die with him.” This he said in response to the invitation of Jesus: “Let us go to him.” News of the death of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, had just been brought to Jesus and he was going to raise him from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus is the climax of the journey that begins on Ash Wednesday and meanders through Lent and Holy Week and brings us to the glory of the Resurrection.
It is a journey that is painful and scary yet at the same time exciting and hopeful. This was the experience of the first disciples of Jesus. Some would have preferred a smoother journey and they tried to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem. And even after following him there, some were so terrified that they deserted him. They cowered in fear and no doubt they questioned their earlier decision to follow this man.
Such is the plight of disciples of Jesus even today. That’s why Thomas speaks for us as well as to us: Let us also go to die with him! He must have had in view the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him. (2Timothy 2:11) So it is important for us to know that we are journeying with Jesus. Constantly he reassures us with his words: PEACE BE WITH YOU. In other words: DO NOT BE AFRAID! It is these words that I would like you to take with you on this Lent, Holy Week and Easter pilgrimage. And every time we sing or say the word Alleluia, may the peace that comes from Jesus fill us with joy and may that joy overflow to all with whom we come in contact.
Yours in Jesus and Mary,
Very Rev. Anthony Aarons, Missionary of Mercy