Holy Week 2019

Holy Week passed and many people celebrated the most important period of the Christian liturgical year.

Nothing compares to experiencing Holy Week in Jerusalem. Celebrating the great events in the history of salvation and the life of Jesus in the same places where they have traditionally occurred is an exciting and unforgettable experience of faith for all believers.

Holy Week officially began with the celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the procession gathered thousands of Christians from all over the world who joyfully walked from a place called Bethphage, praying and singing in every language, to the western slope from the Mount of Olives, through the Cedron/Kidron Valley and into the Old City.

On Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Last Supper was celebrated with the Sisters of Sion at the Ecce Homo – Basilica in Jerusalem and it was a beautiful ceremony. Then we had dinner in the community and went, together with the participants of the Biblical program, to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicanto, traditionally believed to be the place where Jesus spent the night after his arrest.

And here I pause, for a reflection: I was thinking of the passage from John 19: 4-6.

“Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, ‘Look, I am bringing him’. As soon as he came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ as soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him Crucify him!’
But Pilate answered, ‘You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis of a charge against him.’
Pilate says that he found no guilt in Jesus, but the people still cry, ‘Crucify him!’”

Guilt and crucifixion, words from the gospels. Do you remember anything?

Yes, Pilate found no crime in Jesus. He traded Jesus for another prisoner, to satisfy the fury of the people. But they preferred Barabbas to Christ. That Jesus who revolutionized the people, who dined with the “unclean,” who saved the prostitute from stoning, who whipped the temple vendors, who sent a rich young man to sell everything he had and give to the poor … A man who displeased others, especially the powerful, who wanted to keep their privileges and customs at all costs. These powerful were not cruel and devilish people as many think. They were people who were “good”, religious, priests, leaders and interpreters of the law. They were people above suspicion. While Jesus came from the people and to the people! It eventually became a threat to those who controlled power.

They feared that these people would discover that they had rights, that they were equal in essence, that they had dignity, that they could grow in abilities. And what did the powerful of the time use to arrest and kill Jesus? They used their own people. These people are susceptible and suggestible. Encouraged by the mighty, they greeted Jesus as they entered Jerusalem and then asked for crucifixion.

How often do I condemn and kill Jesus these days? How often do I judge and condemn my brother for his appearance? How many times do I judge the other by thinking differently from me? How many times do I condemn others for bothering me with their ideas? How often do I not wish the death of a brother who was caught in some crime? How many times…???

However, hope prevails every Good Friday; the Crucifixion, the Via Dolorosa, Calvary, the Passion of Christ for us, invites us to be renewed and be released as a people.

During this Easter I desired that I may identify my actions which contribute to the on-going suffering in our world; so that I may live your commandments freely.

“You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your spirit … you shall love your neighbour as yourself”. These two commandments sum up the whole Law and the Prophets. (Mt. 22: 37-40).

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, hallelujah!

Erika, Novice NDS