The preacher approaches his or her task with the Word of God in one hand and, as Notre Dame professor Sister Catherine Hilkert, O.P., once told a gathering of preachers, "with the newspaper in the other hand." She challenged preachers to understand not only the Word of God but also the stories, the experiences, of our hearers as well.
At the same time, the preaching enterprise belongs to the people as much as it does to the preacher. The members of the congregation will get out of the homily what they put into it. Each member of the assembly consciously inserts her or his story into the Word proclaimed by the preacher. The proclamation of the Word of God is NOT a passive experience.
I offer the following reflection on the Lukan Passion of this Palm Sunday as an invitation to engage today's Good News in that way: as a meditation in preparation for the Sacred Triduum. Each day, as outlined below, sit with the Word of God proclaimed today and bring it to your lived experience, past and present. There is no more critical time in the liturgical year to make that profound connection: God's story IS our story.
A GUIDED MEDITATION FOR HOLY WEEK
BASED ON THE PASSION ACCORDING TO LUKE
MONDAY: Luke 22:14-20
What impact can the Last Supper have on your celebration of the Eucharist?
TUESDAY: Luke 22:21-38
How is your discipleship faring these days? How well does it mirror Jesus’ demands?
WEDNESDAY: Luke 22:39-65
Can you relate to the situations each of the characters in this section of the Sacred Drama find themselves in? Jesus? Judas? Peter?
THURSDAY: Luke 22:66-71; 23:1-25
Can you relate your experience in life to that of any of the characters in this section of the Passion Narrative: The Religious Establishment? Pilate? Herod?
FRIDAY: Luke 23:26-49
How does Jesus’ suffering in this portion of the story relate to human suffering today? Who do the characters in this section of the narrative represent in the story of present day suffering?
SATURDAY: Luke 23:50-56
How do you relate to Joseph of Arimathea and “the women” who come forward to minister in the face of this monumental tragedy.