Today we hear about the glorious entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. We hear the people shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David". Most likely the same people that on the end of Holy Week shout: "crucify him", because he was not the King they wanted him to be. And we are sometimes the same. In this account of the Lord’s Passion we see vivid character which we can easily identify with. It can also provide us with material for reflection and prayer. We can reflect on the good news that the story has for us. First Jesus is revealed as Messiah and Son of God. He comes forth not as powerful but as the suffering Messiah. but by being prepared to suffer even death to show how our God loves us. Does the Passion story offer you a glimpse of how God loves you? Second Jesus gives an example of patient, endurance and faithfulness in suffering. That is something we all have to endure. When we suffer we have to remember that we have a God who knows our pain Characters in the Passion story
A lot of people die for a cause, Jesus was certainly not the first and neither the last. He was also not the last innocent man condemned to dead. Even on Calvary He was not the only one. There are a lot of Martyrs through history. In our days we recall the dead of Oscar Romero and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The questions I what makes the Lord passion different from these other martyrs? One reason is that the Gospel tells the story in such a way that we can feel involved. From most stories we don’t have as much details as we have from the Passion of the Lord.
The Passion brought out the weakness of his friends. First Judas, than Peter and eventually the rest of his disciples except a few that stayed faithful. Peter that proclaimed he would never forsake the Lord, who was expected to be steady as a rock? Only a few hours before, he had boasted, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” But when Peter was cornered. “He began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man.” We are told that when Jesus turned and looked at him, Peter “went out and wept bitterly.” These were his friends, the ones who loved him and shared his company during the years of his ministry. In the crisis of his trial, not one of them stood by him. How does the Passion of Jesus relate to us? Mysteriously, his cross is the means of our salvation. But it is also the story of our lives, of our failures and our recovery. We also mirror the disciples who fled to avoid involvement. Perhaps we have something of the rigid spirit of Caiaphas and the priests, who were keen to reform others but not themselves. And let’s face it, there’s also a hint of Judas in us all. There are times and situations when Jesus could say to us as to him, “Friend, what are you doing here?” And of course we all had situations where we felt abandoned by those closest to us.
We can also identify with the “Good Thief”, who was crucified alongside Jesus, who humbly asked for a final blessing or join the whom said “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Or we can join in prayer with the faithful ones who stood beneath the cross of Jesus “… his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, and the disciple whom Jesus loved. This is the most solemn week of the liturgical year. At one time through history it was the ‘Great Week‘ but nowadays we call it Holy Week. In it we witness the total self-giving of Jesus. This week we will try to follow Jesus every step of the way, beginning with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. There he was welcomed, applauded and acclaimed by a crowd of admirers. On Thursday we will join him at table, to receive his gift of himself in the Eucharist. After dining with him we will go to the Garden of Olives. Then we follow him in his struggle with suffering and death. We will see him struggling with fear and anxiety about the cruel death that awaits him. On Good Friday we will be standing in spirit beside the faithful ones at the foot of the cross. We see him handing his spirit back to the Father who sent him.
On Saturday we will be quiet and silent around his tomb, as we remember the injustice and cruelty of humanity. Then, late on Saturday, we will move from the darkness of our Passion journey to the light of Easter. There we will join the procession of the great Paschal Candle, representing the risen Christ. The pain of our compassion with Jesus to Calvary will give way to the hope and joy of Easter. Jesus Christ is not dead and gone. No, he is risen, strong and powerful, alive in himself, and alive in us. He is with us, even in this current health crisis, reassuring us that after the suffering of Good Friday there will be the bright light of Easter. Then the stone will be rolled away and we hear those words of comfort: “the Lord is Risen as he has said”. Amen