No matter how rigorously we have persevered in our Lenten observances, nor no matter how intense has been our prayer over the past five weeks, the next seven days tax our commitment as disciples of Jesus to its limits. A dramatic week, an emotionally draining week, a roller-coaster sweeping us from the euphoria of triumph to the ignominy of crucifixion within a matter of days, it puts our faith in Jesus on the line.
Even though the four gospels describe historic events, as disciples of Jesus we are no mere spectators or disinterested onlookers. Our past was assumed in these events, our future secured. The age-old longing of men and women for forgiveness, redemption and eternal life was fulfilled definitively in the events we recall during the days of the Easter Triduum. Let the Holy Week liturgy sweep us up into the Paschal mystery. Let us greet the Lord and spread our outer garments, our bodies and our souls before him as he enters in triumph the new and celestial Jerusalem. Let us sit with him in the upper room, allow him to wash our feet and nourish us with his body and blood, the bread of angels. Let us cherish the priests Jesus gave to his Church on the night before he died, and open our hearts to their ministry. Let us also take care of them and assist them, by rebuke or encouragement, in remaining faithful to their mission to preach the Good News.
Let us go to the Garden and stay awake to witness just how much the Lord was willing to suffer on our behalf. Let us blush with shame at this betrayal: we too have failed in our love and respect for our neighbour. Let us look on, in the darkness of the night, as the cowardly court passes unjust sentence on an innocent man, thinking of the many who have since shared the Lord’s fate. Let us stand on Calvary, join the three Marys and John, and the centurion, at the foot of the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, our hearts full of compunction and gratitude. Let us join Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus in performing that great act of corporal mercy, and bury the dead. And then await in joyful hope the dawn of everlasting day.
Fr Patrick’s previous “Thoughts” are in the Gallery.