Posts Tagged 'Holy Week'

More Company for Holy Week

Along with drawing strength from his Heavenly Father (see post “Who is your company for Holy Week?”), Jesus had other company during his journey from Palm Sunday to Easter.

It’s subtle, but it’s significant.

As you read the Scriptural accounts of the passion and death of Jesus, she is not mentioned much, but I think Mary played a huge role. What mother would not be there for her son? Especially in the toughest moments of his life, while others abandon him. I think he drew a lot of strength from her.

There are times when doing what God wants is greeted with great fanfare, and there are times when it is very difficult. Jesus certainly experienced this. His miracles attracted great multitudes, and yet he sweat blood in his struggle to accept his Father’s will in Gethsemane. He accepts that cup, and as he struggles to carry the cross, Mary is with him every step of the way.

Spend some time with Mary. She always helps her children in their struggle to accept God’s will and carry it out. No matter if the crowds are thick or thin, you can count on her company.

Mixed Emotions

I don’t know what Palm Sunday means for you, but for me it’s a little bit of a jumbled combination of things. It means the proclamation of the Passion during the Gospel at Mass, it means the reception of new palms to be brought home and placed behind the crucifixes all around the house, it means the beginning of Holy Week, and it means somehow that it’s time to “turn toward Jerusalem” and consciously ready myself for the celebration of the Paschal Triduum beginning on Holy Thursday.

But Palm Sunday has many other meanings as well, particularly if we look carefully at what exactly happened upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict tells us that the acclamation “Hosanna!” had many different connotations for first-century Jews. He says it was “an expression of the complex emotions of the pilgrims accompanying Jesus and of his disciples,” namely joyful praise of God, ardent hope that the coming of the Messiah was imminent, and fervent prayer that the arrival of this King would be the definitive beginning to God’s everlasting reign over Israel. As I read this, I ask myself, “What are the complex emotions of this pilgrim—myself—as I accompany Jesus today?” Yes, there is much joy in the praise of God and all the ways He continues to bless me, there is certain hope that He will fulfill all His promises to me and to our world, and there is indeed fervent prayer for all that requires His power, His grace, His touch. There are a few other emotions mixed in there, too, as I’m sure there are for you. A bit of fear about all that is uncertain or painful in my life, a bit of anxiety over all that is stressful, a bit of negativity that I’d rather not own up to. But all of these put together make up the “me” that celebrates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and I shout with all other pilgrims of “complex emotions” down through the centuries and even down through the pews, “Hosanna to the King of David!”

Who is your company for Holy Week?

After Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, he got in a discussion in the Temple area. It became so heated, that the crowd picked up rocks to stone him. Afterwards, he went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing (John 10).

That is significant! When you feel like the world is against you, where do you go?

Jesus went back to the place where he heard His Father’s voice say from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It was reassuring to go back to the place where his mission started to regain his focus and purpose. It was not just the place, but the relationship that sustained him.

This Gospel is read the Friday before Holy Week. I think it is a great choice because it gives us a peek into the way Jesus found strength to do His Father’s will. As you journey through Holy Week, find those places and people that help you to do God’s will.

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