In every age and culture, there is interest in remembering special people, events and feelings. Whether histories, biographies, plays or personal narratives, people never tire of capturing key moments and sentiments that tell their stories. In the technological age, we strive to remember and capture key moments digitally.
Sometimes, the act of remembering includes monuments, buildings, memorials and shrines making public extraordinary moments, persons and events. At other times, commemorations become enshrined in cyclical or ritual actions, such as the secular and religious holidays that mark our calendars.
Other intimate memories are those found in the recesses of our hearts and are associated with what we hold most dear and sacred. For many, these intimate memories are only shared with family, friends and loved ones or in the context of prayer and supplication.
We all have a set of memories and recollections to fill our public and private lives. Our desire to remember them likely will differ according to the grace or shame attached to them. Still, we attest to the fact that, beyond individual preferences, there are memories we hold on to and remember in common, particularly those events related to of our faith journey.
This Lenten season, for instance, we have been invited to enter a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving as a way to more intentionally remember our identity in Christ. On Ash Wednesday, our foreheads were marked with ashes reminding us that we come from dust and that to dust we shall one day return.
With contrite hearts, then, we entered 40 days of penance and sacrifices while remembering the good God has done for us. Together in these 40 days, we have done our best to recall not only personal shortcomings but our collective failures as a people of God. And in our sacred readings we have remembered God’s mercy and compassion.
In Lent, our Scriptures recalled Jesus’ time in the desert, showing us the need to overcome temptations and cling to every word that comes from God, alone. Through these readings, we remembered Jesus’s transfiguration and glory before His disciples, and we heard anew about His loving forgiveness and healing power. The sacred stories we shared spoke to us, also, of a loving Father who waits for us and is ready to embrace us with His loving care.
And in our Palm Sunday remembrance, we recalled the different events, people and feelings that spoke of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. In faith and ritual, and with palms waving in our hands, we joined the crowd of bystanders shouting: “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” Over and over again, we heard ourselves say: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And in the midst of our frenzy, we could hear the words of one of the criminals resonate in our hearts: “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Indeed, our remembering this Lenten Season and Triduum has been profound. Recalling the Lord’s gift to us in His passion, breaking open for us new life. Together we have remembered every detail, from the beginning of creation to the Resurrection of the Lord. On Easter Sunday, then, let us not forget that this is the day the Lord has made for our rejoicing and gladness (Psalm 118). And let us sing, Alleluia!
F. Javier Orozco
First published April 18, 2019 in the St. Louis Review