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Mar 31, 2020

It’s Time to Focus on Jesus

Dr. Edward Sri

As Holy Week draws near, let’s turn our focus away from the events of our world and instead focus on Jesus. The best way to do this is to dive into the Scriptures and meditate on certain moments leading up to and through Jesus’ Passion. Dr. Sri suggests four scripture passages for reflection, walking through Jesus’ agony in the Garden to demonstrate a method of meditation that will enable you to grow closer to Jesus this Holy Week.  In closing, Dr. Sri shares thoughts on Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi blessing from last week.

Snippet from the Show: 

Jesus gave everything to the Father in the Garden; it’s time for us to do the same.  


Unplugging from COVID-19 and Focusing on Jesus

During this pandemic, it can be easy to get caught up in the news, social media, and other sources of information that exclusively look at the virus and all things related. However, as Holy Week approaches, it’s important to refocus our eyes on Jesus and his Passion. This can be especially difficult when we don’t have the ability to go to Mass, receive the Eucharist, and practice our traditional Easter traditions. 

But Jesus is still going to rise on the third day; he’s still going to die for our sins, saving us from the suffering of this life in preparation for the life to come. It’s important, especially during this time of COVID-19, that we focus our gaze on Jesus, and approach the holy days ahead just as we would have last year. 

A Practical Way to Focus on Jesus During Holy Week: Read Scripture

A main source of our strength, faith, and hope is centered on Scripture. This Holy Week, in the absence of the Holy Mass and Communion, pick up your Bible and explore the intimate details of Christ’s Passion. 

Four Scripture Verses to Pray with during Holy Week

For Dr. Sri’s reflections on these passages, you can also check out Dr. Sri’s book, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion (now 35% off!)

3 Practical Lessons from the Garden of Gethsemane:  

  1. Jesus’ Prayer
    1. Meditate: Imagine being one of the three apostles (James, Peter, or John) invited to pray with Jesus in the garden, and imagine Jesus saying to you, “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.” Imagine seeing Jesus fall to his knees in prayer, and fall to his face, lying prostrate, saying, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass… not my will but your will be done.” 
    2. Learn: Jesus gives us an example of extreme suffering, and how to entrust it immediately to the Father. We are all called to do the same, even in our small daily trials. 
    3. Practice: Go to a quiet place, in front of the Blessed Sacrament if possible, and entrust your worries to the Father. Acknowledge your cross, then surrender it to the Father, expressing your trust in him.

  2. The Angel in the Garden
    1. Meditate: Jesus is aided by an angel in the garden, but he was also aided by an angel at the beginning of his ministry in the desert.
    2. Learn: Whatever trial you’re facing, do you turn to the angels to help you? There’s an invisible army waiting by your side, waiting for you to turn to them. On top of that, God gave you a specific guardian angel that is enlisted to protect, help, and strengthen you. 
    3. Practice: Next time you confront a trial in your day, a suffering you just can’t understand, or a spiritual attack/temptation, take a breath and turn to your angel.
       
  3. The Arrest Scene
    1. Meditate: After his prayer, Jesus is met in the garden by a fleet of soldiers, ready to take him to his death. It may be easy to look at this as Jesus being the victim of a surprise attack, but in reality, Jesus is completely in control.

      Mark 14:42 – “Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
    2. Learn: Jesus doesn’t run from his perpetrators, or try to escape in any way. Instead, he goes out to meet them; He faces the problem head on. Not only does he do this, but when answering the soldiers, he says “I am He,” using the sacred name of God. This is similar to the scene of Moses at the burning bush, when God revealed his name. At the mention of this sacred name, the soldiers all fall, and Jesus willingly goes with them into custody. 
    3. Practice: We must face our battles, especially our spiritual battles, head on, speaking the holy name of Jesus. 

      Romans 14:11 – “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

A Few Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Blessing

Last Friday, Pope Francis gave a blessing and led a moment of prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica Square. During this, he reflected on the gospel story of Luke 8:22-25, “Jesus Calms a Storm.” He explained that the storm exposed the apostles’ lack of faith. This coronavirus is a storm, and it’s exposing our own vulnerability. It’s also showing how much we must depend on God. 

Pope Francis went on, saying our modern world is covered in so much fear. It’s important for us to think about this, asking ourselves, where do we really put our trust? Career, success, planning, control, financials, self-image; there are a lot of places we could put our trust, but none of them will last forever. Those alternative sources of faith will eventually fail, and we’ll have to find another source, forgetting what’s really important in life. Lent, however, is a time to choose what really matters. By placing our trust in God, we can focus on what really matters, especially within this storm. 

Jesus gave everything to the Father in the garden; it’s time for us to do the same. 

Prayer Request: Please pray for Bobby who works in the medical field, and for the protection of his health and the health of his wife and kids. 

Resources: 

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