Holy Week invites a sorrowful participation in the journey of Christ to the crucifixion. Though completely familiar to us the Scriptures seem to invoke a sense of newness and freshness as we revisit them again this week. As we strive to lead lives of holiness and renew our commitment to follow Christ each day these Gospel readings also renew in us a greater sense of what Christ truly endured. It unfolds to us as a movie that we've watched many times and well know the ending of, yet are still left trembling and deeply moved.To live under the shadow of the Cross is to live well in Christ. Without this essential remembering than our spiritual lives and faith are not anything more than a placebo. Perhaps over time we gravitate to certain moments leading up to Christ's Passion, we are lead to identify with certain "characters" more than others. We are roused to greater anger, or great empathy....it is important to be attentive to these movements as they offer us a chance of humble examine and an opportunity to bring these findings to the foot of the Cross begging for mercy.Today's Gospel particularly brought me to stand among the twelve, to stand as Judas. I am not proud standing here, but I am guilty as he is guilty. How many times in my life have I "handed over the Lord" for much less than "thirty pieces of silver"? Shamefully for nothing at all, but the emptiness of sin...and surely in retrospect and the gift of grace one begins to recognize that there is nothing worth this handing over of Christ. No amount of anything offered by man , nothing tangible, nothing here on earth, worth denying our Lord. Yet we continue to do. Perhaps it is unnoticed, unknown to others, but in the depth of our interior, in our thoughts, and in our hearts. How often have we stood as Judas? How often have we handed over our brothers and sisters , and not recognized that in this we too hand over our Lord? How often have we come to the table sinfully? To grow in sanctity is also growing in the ability to see clearly the numerous sins we have. As long as we are living and breathing we are not white as snow.We know the full story though, we have the privilege of knowing of Jesus' rising and still we fall. Christ knows this, He knew it then as He took the Cross, and He knows it now. And He loves us in such an unfathomable way that He renews even His taking of the Cross for us each day, out of radical love for us. His wounds bleed not only for us, but also because of us. It is a hard reality to swallow. Especially in our times when we dare not share the truth of the Cross, lest we offend , lest we drive away someone sitting in the pew looking for their "peaceful" Sunday Mass. But unless people are brought to the fullness of understanding the Passion, recognizing the immensity of what this means...then no peace, no minute understanding of Christ's love for them and His unimaginable mercy and peace as a result of this incredible love can be ever experienced. To dilute the the message of the Cross is reason why the Western Church has become so lukewarm.As those imbued with the knowledge of what happened on the third day, then we too have access to the greatness of Christ's mercy now. He invites us to the foot of the Cross, and He renews us in the Resurrection , should we desire honestly to follow and to be renewed, and to be given new life, then there are many implications to live by. This is why the Sacrament of Confession is so vital. So many remain in shame, and in despair, never knowing the freedom of Christ's forgiveness , never knowing the fullness of life. Let us prayerfully continue to journey with Jesus, and to remember we are dust. (CC)Christ, Have mercy on us.