Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Dying you destroyed our Death

Palm Sunday, and Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem open the door through which we enter Holy Week, the most momentous week in the Church’s year and indeed humanity’s history.


It is hard for us to conceive of a greater contrast than that between the beginning and the end of Jesus' final week. The gospel we hear on Palm Sunday speaks about the crowd’s enthusiastic welcome of Jesus into the Holy City of Jerusalem.


However, we know this is a week that swings from one extreme to the other and the shouts of hosanna will become cries of hatred. From palm branches to passion, from hosannas to heckling, from majesty to mockery, from friend to foe, we are reminded that crowds are fickle and of the depth to which unredeemed humanity can sink.


The core of this Holy Week is the Easter Triduum, which begins on Thursday evening at All Saints, with the celebration of the Last Supper and the washing of feet. On Good Friday in our Churches we will hear St. John's account of Christ's Passion and we will venerate the Cross. Our Triduum concludes with the Dawn Easter Vigil Mass at All Saints as Easter Day dawns, and we proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus. This short period is the most sacred time in the Church’s year. A time when we celebrate 'the work of our redemption'. Easter Day moves on to the joyful celebrations of Easter Morning in both of our Churches.


On Palm Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus' Passion and death according to St Luke. As we begin this holy week we are given a preview of where this week is heading. We approach this week with reverence because we know that the last journey of Jesus was one that he travelled for all of us.


As we travel along this path with Jesus and encounter all the people he meets, we re-live the events and have an opportunity to enter into the sufferings of Christ, during his last days on earth. The people involved in his death are so like us that we can identify with them. There is no role in the unfolding drama that we are not capable of playing.


The story of the Passion of Christ lays bare the forces of evil and the wickedness of sin. At the same time, however, it reveals the love and the goodness of God - for what appears as the triumph of the powers of darkness will in fact turn out to be the greatest moment of God's saving plan.