As we enter Holy Week which begins with Palm (Passion) Sunday, we come to the culmination of our self-reflective Lenten journey. The scripture readings during this period have asked us to check our relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters around us. As we move to the celebration of the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday), we are called to witness with gratitude to what God has done for us in the past, and what God continues to do for us daily. One can compare the sentiments of Holy Week with the Grad at Grad values of being Spiritual and Open to Growth. We ask ourselves about God working in our lives, and about our attentiveness to God’s call to be the best people we can be.
This week, I experienced two very practical examples of how God is inviting growth in my life and in the lives of our students. On Friday, Mr. Travis Russell and I traveled to Xavier Jesuit Prep in Palm Desert. Xavier and Verbum Dei work closely with our student interchange programs. On Friday, Travis and I were asked to celebrate a Mass which ended a week of reflection for Xavier students on Gender Inequality. It was obvious that the students were drained by the work of the week. However, it was also obvious that these students had profited from the information that they had learned and from the sharing that they had done. Open to Growth. Coming back to Verbum Dei that afternoon, I was invited to participate in the sending off ceremony for 11 Verb students and 4 faculty/staff that would be spending a week on a Navajo reservation in Utah. All knew that they were about to confront the unknown. All knew that they were going to be living very simply in tents and sleeping bags. However, each person was anxious to learn about a culture of which they had very little experience. Open to Growth.
My experience of the openness to growth that Jesuit education provides our young people coincides well with the celebration of Holy Week. The world is alive with the grandeur of God, to paraphrase Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J. My prayer for each of us is that we can open ourselves to see the Glory of God in our multi-cultural city and world, and that we can grow to appreciate God’s presence in our lives and in the lives of all whom we meet.