From the Vicarage
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The crowd proclaim Jesus as their king for he seemed to have come as the fulfilment of his earthily mission. This is the beginning of Holy Week and it is both a day of glory and of impending tragedy. For Jesus, it is the beginning of the last week of his earthly life, a week of violent contrasts, which will end in grief and glory. The Gospels describe the sight of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey with people waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna”. But soon, those palms will be formed into crosses and the cheers of the crowd will turn into jeers calling for Jesus’ death. Throughout the passion, if is helpful to focus our attention on Jesus who appears as a person absorbed in prayer, as he facers each new moment of impending tragedy.
Before his resurrection Jesus has to experience pain, suffering and death on a cross. In the garden of Gethsemane, he is deeply troubled, and he sweats blood as he prays for the Father to remove the suffering from him. Betrayed and taken prisoner, he is mocked, blindfolded, beaten and spat upon, while a convicted murderer is set free. He hears Peter deny him and the apostles forsake him. His sense of abandonment is increased by the desertion of his friends. At Calvary, he is crucified between two thieves and dies as a common criminal. Mary stands at the foot of the cross with a handful of others, remaining faithful to the last.
This is the most solemn and sacred week of the Church year and during it we are invited to take the road with Mary and those few friends who followed Jesus to Calvary, and we are invited to be prayerful by his side. Holy Week highlights the peak moments of Jesus’ love for us and gives us an opportunity to look at our lives as well. As we do this, and enter as best we can into Jesus’ passion, the work of the cross will touch our lives so that we may be changed and come to know God more deeply. The sufferings of Jesus, and the sacrifice Jesus makes on the Cross for us, have become a source of strength to countless people throughout the ages. They can be a source of strength for us when we too face times of suffering or difficulties in our lives.
During Holy Week we are given a glimpse into the mystery of suffering and the outpouring of God’s love that surrounds us on so many sides. When we are confronted with the primary Christian symbol of the cross, we are given the assurance that decisive actions have been taken for us and that there is a God of love who journeys with us.
With my love and prayers