It was a year ago at this time that the COVID-19 pandemic closed down our opportunity to gather and celebrate the most important events in our Lord’s life and in our own, Holy Week. As we begin today, this most sacred time, we do so with great joy and hope that this virus will soon be under control. We start with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and conclude with the Triduum-Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.
Holding our blessed palms and shouting hosanna we commemorate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. We do so with a note of sadness, for we know that His arrival is also His entrance into the dark days of abandonment, agony, and death. As we hear Mark’s account of the Lord’s passion there are many characters that each of us could play. One of them is Simon of Cyrene. The soldiers forced him to carry the cross of this condemned man. What went through his mind? This man must have done something really horrible, bleeding and stumbling, thorns sunk into His skull, surrounded on all sides by soldiers with whips and weapons. Will I be whipped and beaten? Can I be Simon?
We all play these different people involved in our Lord’s agony and death. Peter, who betrayed Him three times, Judas the betrayer, Barabbas, who committed murder and was freed, the chief priests and scribes who mocked Him, Mary His mother, John, Mary of Magdalene at the foot of the cross, and Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus, and many others. All these people play a role in Jesus’ crucifixion. The good news, of course, we know, is that in the end God will triumph and sin, darkness, and even death will be defeated. And so as we enter into this Holy Week we raise our voices in love and thanksgiving, confident in Jesus’ redemptive power.
Love, Peace, Joy