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Vacation with the Lord: a Holy Week Retreat

By Dr. Ma. Asuncion Quimlat (Jn 4:5-7, 10,13-15) Jesus to the Samaritan woman: Give me a drink Samaritan woman: How is it that you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink? Jesus: If you only knew the Gift of God! If you knew who is asking, you would have asked me and I would have given you Living Water. Jesus: Those who drink of this water will never be thirsty. Samaritan woman: Give me this water that I may never be thirsty. The story of the Samaritan woman is my story, everyone’s story. Jacob’s well is a meeting spot for everyone who is thirsty. Jesus is thirsty: thirsty for our presence, for our attention, for our love. ‘I thirst’ were His words on the cross. How do I quench that thirst? Do I give enough time to Him in prayer? In thoughts? In service to others? Or do my thoughts and life play around the mundane things? I also thirst for Him: His presence, His love, not because He is absent but because I am unaware of His presence in my life. My daily prayer exercise is just a drop in the bucket, a long way to go but a fair start for a life faithful to Him. All throughout Lent but particularly during Holy Week, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and love through His Son, Jesus. The Easter Triduum starts with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the highlight of which is the Washing of the Feet. It is this action that reminds us to wash each other’s feet, to serve and love one another. Noteworthy though that the whole action started with Jesus getting up from the table and stripping His outer garment which translates to us going out of our comfort zone and stripping ourselves of our pride to serve others in all humility. The mass, however, does not end with the last blessing; it ends with the Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Good Friday then recalls the Passion and Death of Christ through the Liturgy of the Word and through the Eucharist with the Adoration of the Cross. Jesus invites us to deny ourselves, carry our crosses and follow Him. The call to discipleship therefore consists of, first and foremost, the intent and act of disipline. It is in observing the traditional fasting and abstinence that we are oriented to disipline our bodies and other desires of the heart which are not in accordance with God’s will. Lastly, the Easter Vigil begins with the Liturgy of the Light. The beauty of the celebration lies in the re-telling of the salvation history, the renewal of our Baptismal vows and the breaking of the bread. This time, the Eucharistic celebration ends with the last blessing. Thus, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening, the Good Friday liturgy and the Easter Vigil is one whole Eucharistic Celebration rich with the encounter of Jesus, our friend and Savior. If the Passion and Death fills one with sadness, anguish and grief, the Resurrection ushers in the season of joy. The atmosphere of hope permeates and inspires one to go out into the world and be His witness. Mirador Retreat Villa will always be my Jacob’s well, a place to encounter Jesus, to quench my thirst as well as His. The desire to journey yearly is ever strong, even on this fourth year.

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