We are one week away from the celebration of Holy Week!
Palm Sunday, the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. What they did not know then, we know now. The reign of God is not established with armies and violence, it is grounded in the mystery of love. Some persons get it, others, for some reason don’t. Maybe, they don’t because love makes you uncomfortable.
Holy Thursday, the washing of the feet and the new commandment, “love as I have loved you”. What they did not know then, but we know now is that the event of washing the feet at the Last Supper made explicit the pathway of the commandment and the way of life that belongs to all disciples. This is at the heart of the Institution of the Eucharist; the holy event of mutual love allows us to celebrate the Holy Presence of Our Lord in the Sacrament.
Good Friday, the sounds of pain and anguish, of betrayal and loss of hope, of an agonizing death and a rushed burial. What they did not know then, we know now. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain a wheat. The death of Jesus has made a “hundredfold” possible. It is absolutely amazing how faith in Christ was like a wildfire in the early days because each disciple of Christ was an ardent witness. Not that they were able to explain about Jesus, rather, they were able to witness to him by the lifestyle they kept. Alas, maybe this is where Good Friday might shake us up – as the comment goes, “can anyone tell that we are disciples of Christ?”
Holy Saturday begins at evening time, the Paschal candle illumines the church, the exsultet is proclaimed, sacred stories are shared, baptisms take place, and if there be tears, they will be tears of joy. What they did not know then, we know now. The ghastly martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, the pain that shook heaven and earth. The absolute despair of the many who loved him and the profound sadness in the words, “we had hoped”. All of this is a way of describing the total darkness that is transformed by the light of life. It is not death who reigns, these are birth pangs of a new creation.
Fifty days of Easter. From Holy Saturday to Pentecost, there will be fifty days! This, we need to know: What must we do with the renewed sense of the Resurrection of Christ and our own transformation into a new creation? Not as individuals, but as Church – what will we nurture? It is not about repeating the tried and true, but risking to love with abandon and be Church for others.
We are a week away from Holy Week! A week away from the rest of our lives! This coming week, let us spend more time in the Lenten desert, much, much more. Let us spend more time in prayer, much, much more.
Father Francisco Gómez, S.T.