Sunday, April 28, 2013

Holy Week

We finally enter Holy Week. We are out of schedule because the King wants to grant Christians their holy days and he asks the different faiths to get together to plan their calendars. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th per the Latin-rite and Easter according to the Orthodox Julian calendar, which is five weeks delayed from the Latin-rite this year. I'm glad it is finally here.

Of course, my kidney stone attack reminds me of the imperfections of the body. I could feel the stone move along today to an uncomfortable place where it will rest and bother me for 1-2 weeks. Soon, I'll be able to sing Hall----jah.

I saw many touching signs of faith over the past few days. This morning as I was walking away from the church after saying mass, a Jordanian driver slowed down and made the sign of the cross. I'm sure he does it every time he passes by the church. I have been treated so affectionately by so many people this weekend who I meet on the street. They simply want a blessing, regardless of their faith, to remind them of God's constant care for them. My heart keeps softening a bit as I encounter such unexpected goodness.

I love hearing confessions. I love it. People aren't so concerned with church rules; they are concerned about living in right relations with God. Their motivations are that they live well and love God and neighbor - especially in a place that does not honor healthy boundaries.

Even as I am driving down the road, I petition God to help me become a Christian driver. I want to be more loving to others as I drive. This morning as I pulled out of the driveway, I was met with gracious patience by a driver who let me go first. That started my day off right and I blessed God for this good reminder to be a Christian driver.

I had to laugh the other day though when I saw a late-teenage boy take driving lessons. I howled when I thought of what it might mean to teach someone how to drive in Jordan. Maybe I should seek a job like this as part-time ministry so that we can learn better driving habits.

A taxi driver asked me the other day as I was waiting for friends to exit the hotel, "How do like find Jordanians?" I replied, "They are such beautiful people, but my friend, please answer me a question." "Sure, Father," he replied. I asked, "How can such beautiful people drive as they do?" The taxi driver choked and gasped and could say nothing. I laughed and let him off the hook.

As this is Holy Week, I always have plenty to bring to Cross. This week I have many people who have asked for prayers of those who are sick or distraught and I have several friends who have recently died, which saddens me. I wish I could have shown up for them at the bedside to say goodbye. I just want to be able to appreciate the person I am with each day. I trust it will be a very good week.


  1. John, this is a beautiful post filled with humble observations about your people and your interaction with them. First of all, I hope the kidney stone pain eases very quickly. I appreciate the explanation for the different timing for Easter and also the fact that you love hearing confessions because of the sincerity of your people. I'm sure that your people experience the love of God through you.

    How true it is that one courteous driver can make such a difference. One day when I was on the highway in Toronto I let a driver in front of me and he opened up his window, put out his head and threw me a kiss! That was a beautiful start to my day in rush hour traffic.

    Prayers for a very special touch from God during this Holy Week.

    1. Thanks, Lynda. What a beautiful response from you. I'm glad that cabbie threw you a kiss. Stuff like that makes all the difference in the world.

  2. Prayers for Holy Week, and especially for your health!

    1. Thanks, Fran. I feel well. Now the stone has to be rolled away.