The celebration of Holy Week, the most sacred time in the Church’s year, begins on Palm Sunday with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus enters Jerusalem as its king. He is greeted with shouts of acclamation. However, Jesus entering Jerusalem as king leads to confrontation between Jesus and Jerusalem’s present rulers. The result is that Jesus will be arrested, humiliated and crucified.
We remember that the people involved in the suffering and death of Jesus were people like us. The suffering of Jesus is mirrored across the world today where people are being persecuted, tortured and killed most obviously in Ukraine at this time. Nearer home when we hurt others, ignore their needs or discount their feelings, in our small way, we contribute to that suffering. There is suffering and pain in our lives too: sickness, loneliness, pain and feeling that we don’t count.
Holy Week is an opportunity for us to change our lives as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. We, along with our fellow human beings, are limited in so many ways. We all have our failures, our shortcomings and what was called ‘sin’ in the old terminology. We damage our lives, make a mess of nature and conduct our affairs without any reference to God.
On the Cross Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself. He absorbed all the suffering of the world and transformed it into the wonder and beauty of the Resurrection. In this way he showed how perfect his love for us was. His death on the cross gives us new life. We pray to experience that life and to try to imitate Christ’s love and his trust. The saving mysteries that took place during Holy Week two thousand years ago, ‘for us and for our salvation’, convince us of Jesus’ love for us. We respond to that love by continuing to persevere in faith and hope.