Last week, our family had the privilege of taking part in a spring ritual: the quest for a college for our youngest son. Walking around with our soon-to-be college freshman, I noticed the seniors: their hopeful eyes on their own futures away from campus. As one class begins to launch into the outside world, another begins the process towards parental separation and independence. There is a synchronistic rhythm of beginning and ending; of ending and beginning — that embraces all those involved with the college journey.
It just so happens that while we were on our sojourn for the best fit in higher education for our lad, we came across another spring ritual — the return of the swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th: St. Joseph’s Day. Every year early on this exact morning, the swallows return from their winter excursion to Argentina and immediately begin building their mud nests. Seven months later, on October 23rd, the swallows circle the mission and begin their journey back to Argentina.
As followers of Jesus, we are now in the midst of our own annual journey. Beginning with our Palm Sunday shouts of Hosanna, through the sharing in love as He instructed us to “do this in remembrance of me,” to the cries of “crucify him,” to glorious acclamation of “Alleluia, He is risen,” we walk with Jesus from life to death to eternal life. Once again, as we take these steps with Jesus, our lives are renewed and transformed.
Our lives and that of all creation has deeply embedded in them a sacred rhythm that calls us forth to endings and beginnings, and ultimately to new and endless life. Nothing so completely demonstrates or embodies this journey then that of walking the way of Jesus during this most Holy Week.