El Padre Carlos Ravert

(Leer en Español)

Pax et Bonum+Peace and All Good

Welcome to Holy Week! This past Sunday, Palm Sunday, we joined Jesus as he gloriously entered the Holy City of Jerusalem and we accompanied him through the Divine Word as he was led to Calvary and crucified. But all that was a prologue, a glimpse, a preview of what’s to come in more detail this week.

Through the liturgies of Holy Week each of us has the unique opportunity to accompany Jesus with our brothers and sisters into the central mystery of the Catholic Christian faith. Sure, they might be longer than what we’re used to on Sundays. Yes, they’re mostly on weeknights, which isn’t always convenient. But, this week is what it’s all about!

There is literally no other week like in the universe. Jesus accompanies us everyday whether we’re aware of his presence or not. He is constantly renewing his death and resurrection through us and our circumstances. He is eternally aware of us, but we are so very rarely aware of him. We’re so busy.

Everyone complains about being too busy. But we rarely do anything about it! This week Jesus and the Church are inviting us to sacrifice our busyness and learn to slow down and become more deeply aware of the presence of Jesus who accompanies us always.

Why is it important to accompany Jesus? What do I even mean by “accompany?” Well, let’s look at it like this: Accompany someone, anyone, is an act of charity by its very nature. We “accompany” others when we go somewhere with them to faithfully support them on their journey or in what they need to accomplish.

A simple example, taking a loved one to the doctor. You might not be sick or injured, but you “accompany” your loved one because they are sick or injured and need your help to get to doctor’s office and your support through the appointment. Another example, we accompany immigrants and refugees who often make most of their journey alone or with very little support of people who care for them. As friends and pastoral ministers, we try to “accompany” new immigrants in Philadelphia but loving them in Christian charity. We try to help them care for their immediate needs, like shelter and food. As well as providing emotional and spiritual friendship during what is very often a scary experience.

Jesus accompanies us with his grace in every moment of our lives. But his grace is most perfectly communicated and received through the sacramental life of Church, especially in the Divine Word, Confession and the Eucharist.

In worship we enter into these divine mysteries and become a part of them. We are not just ritually observing ancient history we are becoming participants in the eternal love of God in the present.

Holy Week, like every Sunday, is a special time to put away the busyness, the distractions and focus especially on Jesus.  As he accompanies us, we can accompany him. So, won’t we try this week to accompany our Savior?

The busyness will still be there next week. Just for a couple of days accompany Jesus with love and faithfulness the way he accompanies us everyday of eternity!


Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.