The best part

| Alyssa Bormes | March 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

You know how you sometimes buy a $100 raffle ticket for a chance to win a trip to the Holy Land, and then regret the purchase because for that kind of money, you ought to be walking away with groceries in your hands? But then you realize the money is going for a good cause — the parish — so then you forgive yourself, and then you forget about it, but then you win?

You mean you haven’t had this happen? I thought everyone had.

What happens when you win the trip? You go on it!

What happens when you return? You have to answer, “What was your favorite part?”

Part of the best parts weren’t. There was the day we were going to the well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman. Our bus turned back at the checkpoint. We were so close; there was a sense of the lay of the land, the barrenness. John 4:4 states, “He had to pass through Samaria.” It’s a favorite verse of mine; it tells something of the place — Jesus wouldn’t be welcomed there, but he went. There, he changed the life of one woman, who in turn brought others to him. I loved making it almost to that well.

We were at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The Mass for the day goes with the place. Instead of the usual daily Mass readings, our Gospel was that of Lazarus being raised. However, the story of Martha and Mary, and Mary choosing the better part, is one of my favorite Gospels as well. Although we didn’t hear that one, we were in the place where it happened, and it was good.

As mentioned, the Mass goes with the place. At the place of the Annunciation, the Gospel and all the Mass parts had to do with the Annunciation. It was the same at the place of the Visitation, and, of course, the same at the Nativity. In Bethlehem it is Christmas everyday. In the middle of Lent, we had Christmas Mass.

Even though every day is Christmas in Bethlehem, it was Lent all around us. Something about celebrating midnight Mass in the middle of Lent, knowing what the baby will have to suffer as man, and that he willingly embraced the cross to do so, and all for love of us, is everything this Year of Mercy is about. In that tiny chapel in Bethlehem, mercy was there. Mercy was all that you could breathe.

Only a few days later, we went to the Holy Sepulcher where we touched the stone of Calvary, and the stone where the body was prepared. Then we went to the empty tomb. Touching the stone where Jesus lay in the tomb was breathtaking. Christmas, Lent and Easter collided in awe.

If you haven’t yet won your ticket to the Holy Land, don’t worry — the Church has you covered. Go all-in for these last days of Lent: Get to confession one more time, fully enter the Triduum and then receive the Eucharist as if for the first time. He is there. And that is the best part.

Bormes, a member of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, is the author of the book “The Catechism of Hockey.”

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Category: Everyday Mercies