We are called to follow Jesus through his suffering, death, resurrection

Published: March 16, 2002

By Father Raphael Kitz, OCD

Lent is a season in which we are called to follow Jesus along his road to Jerusalem when he will suffer, die and rise again. This risen Lord is the goal of the Lenten season, which culminates in the celebration of the Easter Vigil.

The Evangelist John beautifully expresses this journey in one sentence, Jesus knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own he loved them to the end.” Every Christian is called to share this hour, journey and love of Jesus.

In fact, every time we say to Mary, “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” we are asking to share in the mystery of Jesus’ own hour.

Another metaphor for the Christian life, besides that of journey, which is gaining in popularity today, is that of a drama or play. In this comparison, developed in depth by one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, Hans Von Balthasar, God the Father is considered to be the author of the play, the Holy Spirit the director and Jesus, the Son, as the lead actor or hero.

Every Christian is given a role to play and to take his or her part on the world stage of life. The script is already written in the Scriptures, especially in the Gospels and the tradition of the Church. It is up to the Christian to study, learn the lines and play her or his part in the drama of real life.

The framework for this play is the mystery of the Trinity. This mystery strikes the Christian from every angle and direction.

The drama in which the believer participates is totally influenced by the author, the Father, the director and guide, the Holy Spirit, and the hero, Jesus Christ, the redeemer and savior.

St. Paul powerfully expresses this divine and human drama by saying, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.

Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

The catechumens who are marching toward the Easter Vigil will enter into a new relationship with Christ, the Risen Lord, sharing in his death and resurrection, his own personal drama. Those already baptized will renew and intensify this same relationship.

Father Raphael Kitz, OCD, is novice master at the Monastery of Marylake in Little Rock.