Dear Members of the Santa Clara University Community,
This week culminates Lent when Christians recall Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the tragedy of His crucifixion, and the glory of His resurrection. The rich imagery of these days helps us contemplate the humanity of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the Covenant between God and God’s people. In Christ’s incarnation, God poured out God’s unconditional love for us. For the love of His Father and for all of us, Jesus remained true to His mission – to suffer and die on the cross for the salvation of the world.
Holy Week reminds us that to live in the resurrection of Christ we must confront the reality of the cross. This week we come to the cross of Jesus with compassion for His suffering, holding in our hearts also compassion for those suffering in our community and around the world. This is a time, too, to bring our own grief and personal challenges to the cross, knowing that God is present to bear our burdens so that we can live evermore fully as a resurrected people. In this spirit we continue to live into being the “beloved community” described so eloquently by Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year the Jewish celebration of Passover begins at sundown on Friday, April 6, and continues for eight days. Commemorating the departure of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, these holy days are spent observing rituals that celebrate spiritual freedom and the physical liberation from slavery.
In observance of this holy season, the University will be closed on Friday, April 6 (Good Friday). I invite you to take part in the rituals and services of your faith tradition that lead you to spiritual freedom and renewal. The Jewish and Christian faith traditions are united by the one true God, and in that tradition, I wish all our Jewish sisters and brothers a joyous Passover. To members of our Christian family, have a blessed Easter season, and I pray you experience new life in the Risen Lord. May we all share in the peace that comes from a loving and compassionate God.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.