Today, we enter Holy Week. On these days, our hearts and prayers intertwine with the profound mysteries of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. This time invites us to ponder the essence of sacrifice, renewal, and the boundless grace that flows from Christ’s triumph over death.

In the spirit of reflection and gratitude, we are reminded of the living examples of Christ’s love in action, as seen through the transformative journey of individuals like Dara, in Cambodia, who once led a carefree life, spent helping family and playing with friends. This changed forever in a fateful instant when a landmine exploded in his hands when he was a 11 years old. He lost his most of his sight and a hand.

Another example of Christ’s love in action is Chen, who, when he was 16, enjoyed life’s little pleasures, such as playing soccer with friends. He attended school and helped his family by working on their farm.

Dara is rarely found sitting still as he enjoys all that the Arrupe Centre offers. He dreams of representing Cambodia on the sporting field some day. (Catholic Missions Australia)

Yet, one of the six million landmines left behind by a three-decade civil conflict that began in the 1970s forever changed his destiny: After stepping on a landmine 10 years ago, he lost both of his legs, becoming one of 40,000 amputees who live in this small Southeast Asian country.

“Immediately after the accident, it was difficult for me to accept my new reality,” Chen said. During the first months of his recovery, he began to see himself as a burden to his family, who was already struggling financially. When hope seemed lost, however, he met Bishop Enrique Figaredo, a Spanish missionary who has spent more time in Cambodia than his home country.

Bishop Enrique, known locally as the Wheelchair Bishop, runs various projects in this country, including the Arrupe Center for youth with disabilities — either amputees or those born with physical challenges. His missionary zeal is straightforward and profound: convey Christ’s message through charity. “Accompanying them, being seen as close and caring, attracts,” he said. And his approach has borne fruit, with many being drawn into the faith.

Through the support of The Pontifical Mission Societies and the unwavering dedication of missionaries like Bishop Enrique, the Arrupe Center stands as a beacon of hope, offering new beginnings to those marginalized by physical challenges. Chen’s journey from adversity to empowerment, culminating in his pursuit of an IT degree and meaningful employment at La Paloma Textile Center, exemplifies the resurrection spirit we commemorate during these holy days.

As we meditate on Christ’s suffering and ultimate victory this Easter Triduum, let us also celebrate the resurrection stories unfolding within the Pope’s missions. The work of those like Bishop Enrique brings the message of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection to those who need to hear it the most.

Bishop Enrique Figaredo. (Catholic Missions Australia)

Christ was shunned, betrayed, persecuted, tortured, and killed. Yet He is Triumphant! Millions in the Pope’s missions live on the outskirts of society, worship in churches made of tin, and hunger for food and spiritual support. Yet, thanks to you, they, too, can proclaim that He will rise on the third day, ascend into heaven, and be seated at the Father’s right hand.

This Easter Triduum, let us recommit ourselves to spend time with the Lord who waits for us in the garden of Gethsemane. We pray to remain faithful, like John and the Holy Women who stood at the feet of Christ as He hung upon the cross. As we celebrate Easter, let us gaze upon the Resurrected Jesus, our glorified Lamb, seated upon the throne and always present to us in the Tabernacle.

May this Easter Triduum rekindle in us the joy of the Gospel and the resolve to serve the forgotten ones. Let us pray for the grace of personal encounters with Jesus for all, especially those yet to know Him.

Let us remain united in prayer and mission as we look forward to celebrating the Resurrected Jesus, our hope, and our salvation.