This week begins Holy Week. With the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and the crowd waving palm branches proclaiming Hosanna in the Highest!
How quickly does this narrative change with the words of Jesus, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani from Psalm 22:1 meaning my God, my God why have you forsaken me? David’s prophecy from psalm 22:16 is fulfilled in that “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”
What will you do this Holy Week to recall the great sacrifice our Lord Jesus has made for us, the poor sinner? This sacrificial gift is available to all, but ours is a choice in which we can choose not to accept God’s grace & forgiveness. We may recall the repentant sinner next to Jesus being crucified on the cross in which he says “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). Unlike the repentant man, the unrepentant sinner asks Jesus for something else that many of us may be more inclined to ask for “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us” (Lk. 23:39). How easy is it for us to question the ways of the Lord. We are reminded from Matthew’s gospel that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21). It is easy just to give lip service to God, but not have a personal relationship with Him in our prayer life. Perhaps we just punch our worship time card and leave everything at the doors of the church? This Holy Week is different where we are called to be attentive. We are called to reflect on the paschal mystery in which Jesus the Christ suffers and dies for us so that we might have life everlasting through His defeat of sin & death.
Perhaps you are like the colt in which Jesus rode into Jerusalem not knowing the reason for your work, but faithfully performing your task? Maybe you are like one of the people in the crowd proclaiming Hosanna in the highest having much fervor only to run away later like Peter when times are tough?
Jesus’s washing of his disciples feet before the Eucharistic meal is a reminder for us of the need to continually turn away from sin and toward the Father’s love in the person of Jesus. We may be like Simon Peter and too proud for the Lord to wash our feet in which we say, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” (Jn. 13:6). This command on Maundy Thursday (mandatum for command) reminds us of Jesus’s words “You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If, I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn. 13:13-14).
As you await the tomb to be opened to celebrate the day of resurrection, will you roll away your own stone for the Holy Spirit to dwell? During this Holy Week let us reflect on our Lord’s great gift of sacrifice and put to death those obstacles that prevent us from becoming closer to Him in prayer, act & deed.
Set aside some prayer time this week. Ask our Lord to remove those weaknesses that interfere with your desire to become closer to Him in prayer. Journey with our Lord Jesus by reflecting on the passion narratives in the gospel. Perhaps, you may wish to meditate on the last words of Christ https://weare.franciscan.university/seven-last-words-of-jesus/?
Blessings to you for a good holy week.