This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week on the liturgical calendar. During this week, we meditate on and enter into the passion of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosana! Hosana!” all the way through his crucifixion on Good Friday and the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
I love Holy Week as it invites us into the deep mysteries of the Gospel. We are confronted with the reality that suffering can be redemptive, that grace is costly, that betrayal is easier than we like to admit. I am struck throughout the week by how I am Peter. I am Judas. I am Mary. I am in the crowd.
The picture I get of myself is always sobering.
And the picture I get of Jesus is almost more grace-filled and loving and powerful than I can bear.
Our faith is encapsulated by this Passion Week.
I will be spending a couple of days with family next week as well. We will be celebrating Passover seders on Monday and Tuesday. It is always nice when the calendars align.
The ancient rabbis teach that, at the Passover celebration, every Jew should think as if they themselves were slaves in Egypt, were set free by the blood of the lamb, were at the foot of Mount Sinai, were in the desert, and were delivered to the promised land. In other words, this isn’t someone else’s story. It is our story. It is my story. For if God had not freed my ancestors from slavery, I too would still be a slave. The Exodus is my story too. And in that sense, the story itself is sacramental. It represents something beyond itself. And in a mystery, it is both a story from history and fully my story too.
Passion Week is the same way.
As we celebrate this week, we should imagine that we are at the Mount of Olives with our palms, shouting “Hosana! Hosana in the highest!”
We are in that upper room for the breaking of bread and pouring out of the cup.
We are there in the crowd, shoutingf “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
We are there at the cross.
We are there on Saturday, mourning… fearful… lost…
We are there on Sunday as the stone is rolled away… an empty tomb.
And we are there, too, when Jesus appears to the disciples.
We are there, because He is here.
Happy Passover & Easter everyone!