It is Holy Week, and I think of this last Sunday, Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry of our Lord. It is triumphal in that He is going to the cross. I also think of last week’s homily when Fr. Michael encouraged us to give our testimony to people. I have thought all week about that, and I have concluded that my testimony consists primarily of trials and hardships since my baptism and especially since becoming a Catholic. Non-Christians also undergo trials and hardships, so what is the difference? As Catholics, we have—or should have—joy that goes simultaneously with our trials and hardships. We know that God has a purpose for each trial and hardship, that it is for our salvation and sanctification. It is similar to the training that an athlete undergoes to become competitive and similar to the fasting someone on a diet undergoes.
Many times we forget the second part of salvation. We were saved at Baptism; we are being saved now; and we will be saved. It is this second part that gives us joy, happiness. This is why we are thankful; this is why we are able to persevere. Our psalm for today, 27, substantiates this: The Lord is my light and my salvation. He is our salvation today and tomorrow. Evildoers will come at us to destroy us. God allows them to come “this far, and no farther.” At that time, they must stumble and fall. “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living; wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.” Some people believe that a particular political party will bring social justice, but heart our God: “[Jesus] shall bring forth justice to the nations… Until He establishes justice on the earth, the coastlands will wait for His teaching…” Jesus brings forth justice now through the Catholic Church, of which He is the Head. We as individuals practice justice when we are in union, in agreement—communion—with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Jesus will bring justice in toto at His second advent.