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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Spy Wednesday

Now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
On Monday our readings talked about the end point of our Lenten journey – conversion into the image of the Trinity. Yesterday, our readings spoke to us of the trials that this journey would entail but also of the glory of God that would be manifested. Since you are still here, it is clear that you wish to see this journey through to its completion.
As with any journey, once we have set upon a destination and a travel route, it is important to prepare ourselves for the trip. You make sure that you dress appropriately, that you pack whatever you may need in order to see your trip through successfully.
Indeed now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
The scripture today is our guide for preparation, for as we join the disciples in preparing for the Passover, we will prepare ourselves to join more fully with Christ in his life, passion, death and resurrection. We too will pass over, we will be transformed from who we are now into the very image of the Trinity.
In the preparation for our trip, what should we do? In their preparation for the Passover, the first requirement of the Jews was to procure a lamb without blemish, whose blood they would apply to the doorposts and lintel of their homes. And as they say, “home is where the heart is”, therefore we too must cover the doors to our hearts with the blood of Christ. This not only will protect us from the dangers of the land of Egypt, but by doing so the blood of Christ will be united with the blood in our hearts we will be more fully united with him.
The second requirement for the Jews was to gird their loins, to wear sandals on their feet, to carry their staff so as to be prepared like those in flight. As Franciscans, we have girt our loins with the habit of the poor, our feet walk in the footsteps of Christ, our staff is the good news of the Gospel. We too are in flight from what we are now toward the glory of what we shall one day be. We must remember that we are always on a journey, always seeking to move forward and not seeking to build here a permanent home.
Thirdly, the Jews were to set the Passover table with unleavened bread and wine. The body and blood of the Lamb, present on the altar must be set upon the tables of our hearts. It is indeed food for the journey, our viaticum.
Yes, now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
The Czechs call this day Ugly Wednesday or Chimneysweep Wednesday because it was customary that on this day the entire house be cleaned out, even the chimneys. Everything was to be made spotless inside and out to prepare the home for Easter. This too is a metaphor for our Passover preparation.
For now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.


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