Readings: Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Philippians 2:6-11 and 2:8-9; Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do yGo into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’ou not perceive it?’ — (Luke 19:30-31)
What might the Lord need from us?
One of the most telling images we have of Jesus Christ from the Gospels is that of movement. From town to town, setting to setting and scene to scene, he moves fearlessly, weaving his story with those of the women and men he serves. We see him forge a dynamic relationship of peace with his people, not just in giving to them but also in being fed, housed, anointed and celebrated by them. On Palm Sunday, he humbly requests the use of a donkey, so that he can arrive as the King of Peace. Today, we are still his people, and he is still our humble teacher, coming to us on a donated donkey.
Peace means to be in right relationship with God, with each other, and with all of Creation. Jesus died to make things right with God on our behalf. He taught us how to prioritize love, mercy and compassion for all persons, regardless of their background, religion, health or wealth. This is what a reconciled relationship with God can bring to our lives. Jesus not only builds that relationship but also calls us to live in that new relationship; to feel ourselves move into this new reality with our whole being.
Srey Packly, of the Province of Kampong Thom in Cambodia, can show us how to move forward in building right relationships! In 2016, she joined a community fisheries program put in place by Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada’s partner, Development and Partnership in Action (DPA). There, Packly, who comes from a long line of fisherfolk, developed the knowledge and skills needed to keep the fisheries stock in the river strong. Her community’s relationship with the fish extends to the health of the river and river ecosystem. Packly and her people look after the aquatic plants in the river, which helps keep the river clean and healthy for the fish. Her community also uses this now thriving and properly cared for river to irrigate their crops, making their daily food sources more resistant to the effects of climate change. Every day, we see the cycle of life and right relationships moving in Packly’s community; from river, to farmland, to village and back again in harmony.
This Sunday, we can reflect on how we can move forward in right relationship with Jesus, with our sisters and brothers, and with all Creation. In our visits (virtual or in person), in sharing (fairly sourced, ideally) coffee or tea, in offering what we have and asking for what we need, we can share our stories, receive others’ teachings, and continue to deepen our awareness of our neighbour as we journey together. Let us choose this day to look back on all the ways our Lord has led us over these past 40 days (or 40 years!) into ever deeper relationship with Him, with His community and with the natural world. How might He be calling us to act, to speak and to witness for peace in these relationships as we move forward today?
One way you may be called to move forward in peace is to sign up for the Development and Peace newsletter (scroll down to the bottom of our website’s homepage). This is a great way to learn about how our partners act in their communities for peace and how you can participate in the movement for peace here in Canada. You could also become a Development and Peace member and extend your action for peace beyond the annual Share Lent collection to year-round engagement. This could mean building the mission of peace into your monthly budget, praying for our partners’ success and participating in our many activities throughout the year.
However you feel called to deepen or continue your gift this year, I hope you feel the spirit of harmony moving through Development and Peace, its partner organizations like DPA and the lives of inspiring women like Srey Packly.
The Lord needs us now. Let’s keep walking with him.
Missed your Share Lent gift this year? It’s never too late to make a difference.
 In Khmer names, the patronym is followed by the given name.