Dear Friends in Christ:
We continue our journey with the Lord Jesus. Holy Week is a time the church asks us to recall and focus on the events that led to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The church calls us to again walk with Jesus along those steps from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. We recall the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Passover with the disciples, agony in the garden, the betrayal, arrest, and torture that followed, the bloody path to Calvary, and the gruesome death by crucifixion. We remember and deliberately recall his tremendous pain and suffering.
We meditate on his bloody wounds.
We contemplate the physical, mental, and spiritual anguish Jesus underwent. This is not out of any macabre fascination or perverted sense, but out of gratitude and appreciation of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. Our meditation on the sufferings of Christ reminds us of the depth of his love. It is done knowing that the Christ who suffered is with us in the trials and sufferings of our lives.
Chocolate bunny rabbits and marshmallow eggs are not withstanding, we cannot sugarcoat the harsh realities of Holy Week nor can we sugar coat the evil of the world of today. The brutality of a sinful world is made manifest in the events of Jesus’ passion and the sins and perversions of people today. On that long dreadful Friday two thousand years ago, it appeared as though the world and the powers of evil had won. It looked to many then as it does to many today, that Jesus and the gospel were defeated. The apostles themselves seem resigned to the defeat of their master, their longed-for hope. But in reality, they defeated themselves. They defeated themselves by their falling asleep when Jesus asked for their company in prayer. They defeated themselves when they were overcome by fear. They defeated themselves like Peter, they turned away and forgot who brought them to this moment. They defeated themselves when they failed to remember his words of promise to them.
They defeated themselves when they went back to their former lives as though Jesus no longer existed or was ever a part of their lives. They defeated themselves as they believed that the Messiah who promised to conquer sin and death had instead been conquered. They defeated themselves as they believed that the power of sin and death was invincible. They defeated themselves when they allowed their hope and their faith to evaporate in the face of pain and struggle. They defeated themselves when they forgot Jesus. Like the apostles, we too give into defeat, when we forget about Jesus, when we lose hope, compromise on living the faith, and instead long for a ‘sugar coated’ life. We do this every time we sin when we forget that for Jesus and us, Good Friday is not the end of the story.
Holy Week and Easter remind us that victory is ours in Jesus Christ. Holy Week proclaims that while the power of sin and death is real, God’s love is even more real and powerful. Holy Week reminds us that while the joy of Easter Sunday follows the pain of Good Friday, there is also a Holy Saturday of faithful waiting, patience, and hope. More than anything else this week reminds us in no uncertain terms, “That God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Jn 3:16-17)
We adore you O Christ and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!
Have a blessed Holy Week.
In pace Christi,