We begin the most solemn week of the church year. We follow Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, his institution of the Eucharist, his suffering on the cross and his resurrection. To prepare for this holiest time of the Christian year, let confess our sins…
People are fickle. One minute they’re all about you. Then a malicious whisper and they’d cut your throat. That was Jesus’s lot. He raised Lazarus, the crowd hailed him as Messiah, laid down palms, and welcomed him to Jerusalem. They shouted: “blessed is he who comes in the name to the Lord”. But a whisper from the Pharisees and all that turned to jeers, to shouts of crucify Him.
That cut Christ to the heart. We can be as cruel. How fickle we are sometimes in his service, abandoning Christian commitments when challenged by the world. Peter did but repented. Let it be the same with us, for nothing should separate us from the love of God in Christ Our lord. The price he paid once he’d gladly pay again, betrayed, denied, abandoned, he loves us to the end.
Close your eyes and imagine Christ’s desolation hanging there and think of times when you felt likewise. I can imagine seriously ill people in hospital crying: “why have you forsaken me”. But they should remember God didn’t abandon Jesus but raised Him up. He’ll do the same for us, our trials in this world over. If we walk with him he’ll raise us up. No one bypasses Calvary but we can triumph by taking up the cross and following Jesus.
Holy week gives us the chance to do that. It brings our hearts and minds into harmony with Jesus as he goes from Golgotha to Easter. So lets attend the ceremonies devotedly this week, high point of our Christian worship. Lets be with Christ at the Last Supper. Lets listen to the Passion and kiss the cross. Lets celebrate his rising with joyful alleluias. For we’re in those mysteries still. He’s still betrayed for money. His face is still scarred by violence. Many still refuse the life he offers. And there are shades of ourselves in those who contributed to his pain – Peter, Judas, Pilate, the priests. Abuse scandals show how even priests crucified him in the form of vulnerable youth.
In Holy week lets reject all such evil within ourselves. Lets go to confession and achieve inner peace. For no one can follow Jesus through Holy Week without the truth dawning, that despite our faults God loves us. Lets not trust the spear deeper in his side but be apostles at his supper, Mary at his cross, Veronica wiping his face, Magdalene at his tomb. For the world’s cruelty fades to dust but Christ is lord of love, goodness, peace and salvation; he suffered every torment on the cross for our happiness in this world and forever and ever amen…
So walking faithfully with Christ this week through all the events of our redemption, lets make our profession of faith…
Prayers of the faithful
As God’s people committed to him in suffering faith and walking with him through suffering and death to glory, we make our prayers to the same caring Lord for all that we need.
For the leaders of the church throughout the world that this Holy week may see them committed anew to spreading his peace, love and salvation to the whole world..
For state leaders that unlike Pilate they may not crucify Christ by persecuting him and his church or neglecting to serve his holy people, the poor and underprivileged..
For young people that this holy week may lead to a new flowering of faith, hope and charity in their lives..
For ourselves in our hearts and homes that this Holy Week may be a pilgrimage time of renewed love for our great Lord and Savior in his time of suffering, death and resurrection for us…
For the sick the aged the lonely and the depressed that as they share in the suffering of Christ now so they may find healing, comfort grace and peace through their own resurrection.
For the dead who have passed through the suffering of death like Christ that they may also share his resurrection..
And we ask all these prayers with confidence to God through Christ whose wounds constantly plead before the father for us amen
Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, is one of my favorite films. I was especially struck by that scene where Christ gives up the Ghost. A tear of God falls to the ground, thunder and lighting strikes, and His accusers slink away on their donkeys, completely deflated. Moreover, Satan, who had been gloating in the background, is suddenly plummeted back to hell. This is final victory not death. Then the film shifts beautifully to the Last Supper, “this is my body given up for you”. It reminds us of the key link between the Passion and the mass. It is His body’s given up for us anew every Sunday, and given to us at every mass as our bread of life and salvation. Lets cherish that great last gift of his very self to us for all times.. Hail Mary