“You are Precious and Honored, and I love you.”

          While I was on retreat, I would sit out every evening and contemplate God’s creation. There was this one swing that had a perfect view of the sunset no trees blocking the view or buildings or anything. One day I prayed with Isaiah 43 which I will read for you now.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

While I was sitting there looking at the sunset, I had an insight into this passage. God loves us more than these beautiful mountains, he loves you and me more than this fantastic sunset and beautiful weather, and to the wild animals, I saw. I had another thought as well, God was willing to exchange Egypt and Ethiopia, and Seba in exchange for us and the story we just heard, the passion of our Lord this passage in a way became a reality. Jesus was God’s only divine son, and he knew that he had lost his people. So God sent his only son into the World to die on a cross. Because God loves us so much, he gives his only son in return for us, so that we can have eternal life.

What I believe we should try and meditate on this week as we enter into Holy Week. As we celebrated to begin this Mass the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we are in a real way experiencing again for ourselves what Jesus went through the week and days of his passion and death. I encourage you to continue to come to Mass this week more than just today and Easter Sunday. Thursday we will remember Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and the last supper as we will celebrate the same thing ourselves than we will hear the passion narrative again either from John or as we retell them in the stations of the cross.

          What our Lord shows us today in the Gospel and throughout this week is the great love he has for you and me. How far he is willing to go to save our lives to keep us from eternal death. As you may know, the crucifix was the most significant sign of torture and death in the ancient world. Now through our Lord’s passion and death, it has become the greatest sign of love we will ever have.

          This week can be an excellent chance for us to enter into deeply our Lord’s passion and death. I know it is long, but maybe when we have time during this week in the midst of all our preparations for the Easter Bunny, for the celebrations, we may have during Easter and everything else going on. Take a moment and spend some time with the passion narrative. All four gospels explain what happened and while we sit there and meditate with this passage, it may be an excellent chance to remind ourselves. “Jesus did all of this because he loves ME! He died on the cross for my sake, so that I could have eternal life.” As it says in Isaiah 43 which I prayed with “you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you.” Because Jesus loves us because he loves you and me and because we are precious to him and honored he died on the cross for us. As we contemplate his crucifixion and death this day may we never forget the unmeasurable love that God has for us and that he died on the cross for you and me so that we can have eternal life.

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