It is the strangest of weeks. A week like no other in the liturgical year. It begins on such a high with the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, annointed with nard by Mary of Bethany to signify His role as the Messiah, and met with such jubilation by the crowds who greet Him; the same crowds who, in just a few days, will have forgotten their cries of “Hosanna” – replaced now by shouts of “Crucify Him!”.
Such a strange week. It is as though we have come down from the glory of the mountain, to be faced now with the shadows of the valley; it has become the Valley of Death.
I supose in many ways, this week might cause us to reflect on our own lives – on those moments when we move from one emotion to another; when love is replaced by something darker; and when we realise that ultimately we are alone in this life. Except that our Faith tells us this is not quite the case – we are never alone. Even in the darkest of moments, the Lord is with us. His divine light shines on us in those moments as in every other, even if it may seem imperceptible at times. Still He is with us.
There is no doubt that the Lord is with us; but perhaps the lessons this week are for us to ask ourselves if we are always with Him. So often, like those crowds on Palm Sunday, our voices say ‘hosanna’ even whilst our deeds say ‘crucify Him!’. Like Judas in a day or two, we will act in ways which betray this most loving and faithful Lord. And like the Apostles toward the end of the week, we will fall asleep even as He asks us to remain awake and keep watch. Finally, we will find ourselves either like John, faithful beneath His Cross – or like the rest of the Apostles, scattered in fear, not wishing to be associated with Him, only to ask His forgiveness afterward.
This oddest of weeks seems to mirror the intricacies of life, encapsulating so much of our human and emotional and faith experience, condensing it down to just a few days’ worth of events, recounted in the Gospels.
In this Holy Week, may the divine light of Christ illuminate our path and draw us to Him.